8 Health Benefits Of Coffee
Your favourite cup of coffee may be providing you with more than just the caffeine kick you require. Whether you are on your way to work with a mug or going to a spin class with a skinny latte, it might be hard to imagine your day without your favourite drink.
But the questions, is coffee good for you? The answer is yes when it is taken in moderation. Caffeine may be the only thing that comes to your mind when you think about coffee, but coffee contains antioxidants and other beneficial substances.
The health impact of coffee had been a controversial topic with the opposing views stating that it has detractors detailing downsides like indigestion and insomnia. The good news is that the case of coffee is stronger than that of opposing side. Study after study shows that you are getting more from your favourite morning drink. Let's get to it.
Coffee can enhance exercise performance and increase energy levels
Coffee helps you feel less tired and increases your energy level. This is because it contains a stimulant called "caffeine". After taking a cup of coffee, the caffeine is absorbed in your bloodstream, then it travels to your brain. It is also good for exercisers but we were conditioned to believe that caffeine is dehydrating.
However, recent research suggests that moderate caffeine consumption of 2-4 cups a day doesn't dehydrate an exerciser, enough to interfere with their workout session (1). Coffee helps you to battle fatigue.
Caffeine is also a performance and endurance enhancer, it strengthens muscle contraction and reduces the perception of pain you might have while working out. It also increases fatty acids in the blood that supports endurance. This means that having a cup of coffee before work out improves your performance by 11%. Caffeine also increases adrenaline levels in your body.
Coffee has helpful antioxidants
Research has identified approximately 1000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans and more antioxidants develop during the roasting process. The research further cites coffee as a primary source of antioxidants (2). Other studies found similar results, they found out that coffee contributes over 600% more antioxidants than the nearest contributors, fruits (3). Shocking right?
Antioxidants fight inflammation which is an underlying cause of many chronic conditions like atherosclerosis, arthritis, and many types of cancer. They neutralize free radicals which may occur as part of our everyday metabolic function. In other words, antioxidants keep you healthy at micro levels by protecting your cells from damage. Coffee also contains an important antioxidant called chlorogenic acid.
Coffee provides a short term memory boost
In an Austrian research, a group of volunteers received a dose of 100mg caffeine, approximately the same quantity of caffeine contained in a single cup of coffee. A surge was discovered in the brain activity of the volunteers which was measured by a functional magnet (FMRI) (4). The researchers also noticed that the memory skills and reaction levels of the caffeinated volunteers improve, when compared to a group that received Placebo.
Caffeine affects particular areas of the brain that are responsible for concentration thereby boosting short then memory. You should know that research hasn't been made as to how long the caffeine boost lasts on the brain or how it may vary from person to person.
I bet you are now craving a cup of coffee. You can buy freshly roasted coffee beans to get started
Coffee protects your liver
Coffee isn't just your brain's best friend, it also works well with your other organs. It has been proven that some of the active ingredients in coffee protect your liver from alcoholic cirrhosis. This is a disease that damages the liver cells and replaces them with scar tissues (5) which leads to severe liver dysfunction. Thus, the results of the study above, found that there is a relationship between regular coffee consumption and the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis- the more coffee you drink, the lower the risk of having alcoholic cirrhosis. (This doesn't mean you should consume coffee in excess)
Coffee reduces gout in men
Gout is a condition in which the defective metabolism of uric acid can cause arthritis. It usually affects the big toe but it can cause swelling and pain in the other parts of the leg. Research shows that coffee not only significantly decreases the risk of gout in men but reduces the levels of uric acid in women (6). Note that sugar seems to reverse these benefits. It is best to reduce your sugar intake.
Coffee may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetics
A study found out that the risk of developing diabetics dropped by 7% for each cup of coffee taken (7). Scientist believes that coffee may be beneficial in keeping diabetics away in the following ways: By helping the body use insulin-producing cells which enable effective regulation of blood sugar. It prevents tissue damage It battles inflammation, a known risk factor to type 2 diabetics.
Coffee also has a component known as "caffeic acid" that significantly reduces the toxic accumulation of abnormal protein deposits (amyloid fibrils) found in people with type 2 diabetics.
Coffee may help prevent Cancer, Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease
Extensive research on the benefits of coffee over the years focused on cancer prevention. Researchers stated that the regular consumption of coffee was linked with lowering the risk of cancer (8).
Further studies also suggest that consumption of caffeine on a moderate level daily can be a preventive measure to ward off these diseases. Also, it might interest you to know that men who drink coffee may be at a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that drinking 2 or more cups of coffee daily decreased the risk of endometrial cancer in women by 25%. It works because coffee contains polyphenols and phytochemicals which can help reduce inflammation is be responsible for some tumours.
Coffee is good for your heart
Have we mentioned that drinking coffee is good for your heart? Coffee can help protect your heart. A study analysed data of over 37,000 people in 13 years and found that moderate coffee drinkers (those who consume two to four cups daily) had a 20% lower risk of heart disease as compared to light coffee drinkers (9).
However, the same study points out that drinking more than 6 cups of coffee daily can result in the loss of these preventive benefits. When you take too much coffee daily, you get unpleasant symptoms like sweating profusely, anxiety and sleep interruption.
So how many cups of coffee a day is healthy?
A cup of coffee may just be what you need, a second, third or even a fourth cup is okay especially if you are tired but if you frequently take half a dozen of coffee every day, you could be setting yourself up for some serious health conditions. Four cups of coffee contain approximately 400mg of caffeine and this appears to be safe. However, you should know your body, caffeine tolerance varies from person to person. If you feel anxious, jittery, or have trouble sleeping, you may go better with less caffeine intake.
Ways to make your coffee healthier
Don't load your coffee with sugar: Coffee itself is healthy but it can turn harmful if you keep drinking coffee every day with so much sugar. In other words, if you regularly turn your coffee into a sugary treat, you'll be eliminating the benefits it gives. If you can't imagine yourself having coffee without a sweetener, you can stick to natural sweeteners.
Choose a quality brand (buy organic beans): When it comes down to the origin of coffee beans. You should buy certified organic coffee. It is always a good option because it's free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals. You will be sure that no additional chemicals are entering your body from your morning brew.
Don't take coffee late in the day: If you drink coffee late in the day, it can interfere with your sleep. Next time you are pondering over a brew in the afternoon, bear in mind that caffeine has a half-life of up to 5-6 hours. For example, if you had a cup of coffee that has about 153mg of caffeine at 5 pm, it means you'll still have 80mg of caffeine in your system when you try to get to bed by 10 or 11 pm. If you want to make coffee, you can choose a decaf instead.
The bottom line? - coffee is good for you. It helps boost your system, has antioxidants, and prevents diseases but it should be taken in moderate consumption to avoid addiction.
Are you ready to buy some organic coffee beans to brew and kick start your day? Coffee hero has all the types of coffee beans you need.