It’d be an understatement to say that Americans are obsessed with coffee. Over two-thirds of us sip on at least one cup o’ Joe daily, and many people say they can’t even begin to function throughout the day without it. But on top of all of the energy-boosting benefits you can get from coffee, it has incredible potential health ones, like maintaining your muscle mass, too.
As we age, our muscles slowly break down as part of a process called sarcopenia, which can lead to weakness and loss of stamina, making it far more difficult to move around and complete even the most basic tasks. Previous research has looked into the link between coffee consumption and muscle loss prevention in animals, but Japanese scientists were interested in whether the beverage could have the same effect in humans, especially given how many people already drink it. Taking a sample of 6,369 participants between the ages of 45 to 74 years old, they measured their skeletal mass index and inflammation markers through tests via electrical pulses and grip strength. They then had subjects fill out a questionnaire about their coffee consumption for comparison.
In the end, scientists found a positive connection between general coffee intake and muscle mass, meaning that coffee prevents muscle loss. They didn’t see results as conclusive about coffee lowering signs of inflammation, but other studies have shown that a preliminary connection exists that’s worth exploring further. They said that plenty more research needs to be done to better understand which compounds in coffee lead to this link, and they also want future work to look into the optimal amount of coffee consumption needed for muscle mass maintenance.
In the meantime, there are plenty of other health reasons to get excited about coffee: Previous research shows that it may keep dabetes at bay, reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and rev up your metabolism. Drink up!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.