Many companies offer their staff free access to coffee and do so as a caring benefit and to increase energy levels, socialisation and motivation. Little do many facility managers, financial managers and CEOs realise, that by doing so, they encourage their staff to drink themselves into good health!
A recent Harvard School of Public Health review of the health impacts of coffee noted that a “large body of (scientific) evidence suggests that consumption of caffeinated coffee does not increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. In fact, consumption of 3 to 5 standard cups of coffee daily has been consistently associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases.”
There you have it… but the really fascinating part of their review was in exactly how coffee can affect everything from dementia, heart health and diabetes.
Take Parkinson’s Disease for example. This degenerative illness is associated with lowered dopamine levels in the brain, but studies have found that caffeine in coffee can protect cells in the brain that produce dopamine.
One study found a 24% decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease with every 300 mg increase in caffeine intake. Another study showed that drinking 10 cups of coffee a day significantly lowered the risk of developing the disease and one even found a gender difference in that men drinking 6 or more cups of coffee a day and women drinking just 1 to 3 cups a day had the lowest risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. 
Then there is Alzheimer’s Disease, and in a study that tracked cardiovascular risk factors, aging and dementia over a 21-year period, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day at midlife (50 years of age) was associated with a significantly decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life compared with drinking less than 3 cups. Other extensive scientific studies were less clear and could only conclude that while there was a trend towards caffeine providing some protection against late-life dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, this could not be definitively proven.
So, don’t go rushing out to drink 20 cups of coffee day because there is your heart to consider. Too much caffeine can lead to arrythmia, but moderate coffee consumption seems beneficial. In 2014, two key scientific articles were published – the first looked at 36 studies and the second at 22 different studies that had been done over the years and they each assessed the link between coffee consumption and risk of disease (including heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and deaths from these conditions). They both found that drinking 3 cups of coffee a day was linked with a 15% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower death rate. Even 6 or more cups per day was neither associated with a higher nor a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Coffee has protective effects against diabetes too and it is thought that polyphenols and minerals such as magnesium in coffee may improve the effectiveness of insulin and glucose metabolism in the body.
Again in 2014, two seminal studies were published on the topic. The first tracked over 45 000 people for 20 years, and the incidence of diabetes declined by 8% when drinking 1 cup a day to over 30% when 6 cups were drunk a day. The second study found a 30% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in those drinking 10 cups a day.
There are many other studies that have identified positive effects of coffee against prostate cancer in men and liver rejuvenation.
So, when weighing up the cost of hiring an office coffee service and providing your staff with a benefit that also encourages socialisation, energy boot and motivation, take time to stop and think about the impact that ill health might have on your workforce.
The cost of having key staff away from the office,
losing their edge in the workplace, or worse, passing away is reason enough to increase wellness initiatives. In fact, that’s exactly what is happening and by 2027, the global wellness market will increase to close on $100 billion from its current base of $54 billion .
When this is added to the fact that so many leading companies like Accenture, Google, Microsoft and Intuit are known for the quality of their wellness programs, the evidence would suggest that successful CEOs who see motivated and healthy staff as a core business asset, are in turn rewarded by their investments in those staff. In fact, eKincare’s research confirms what we already guessed and that is that keeping your employees happy is essential to getting better business outcomes
Providing great office coffee is just one of the many ways to keep employees happy (who doesn’t appreciate a great cappuccino when arriving early at the office?). Add that to the fact that with each sip they are drinking themselves into good health, and your coffee machine just became a core part of your corporate wellness program!
 Costa J, Lunet N, Santos C, Santos J, Vaz-Carneiro A. Caffeine exposure and the risk of Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1: S221-38.
 Ascherio A, Zhang SM, Hernan MA, Kawachi I, Colditz GA, Speizer FE, Willett WC. Prospective study of caffeine consumption and risk of parkinson’s disease in men and women. Ann Neurol. 2001; 50:56–63.
 Ding M, Bhupathiraju SN, Satija A, van Dam RM, Hu FB. Long-term coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Circulation. 2014 Feb 11;129(6):643-59.
 Crippa A, Discacciati A, Larsson SC, Wolk A, Orsini N. Coffee consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2014; 180:763-75.
 Ding M, Bhupathiraju SN, Chen M, van Dam RM, Hu FB. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and a dose-response meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2014 Feb;37(2):569-86.