The Health Benefits of Coffee
Internet memes and the proliferation of Starbucks locations across the world are just two ways that prove just how much people love their coffee. In fact, the numbers show that the United States spends $40 billion on coffee every year. While you likely enjoy your cup of joe because it tastes good and you enjoy the feelings it evokes, it’s exciting to find out that something you love so much may also be good for you. Research proves that coffee has some perks that may take away the guilt of drinking mug after mug.
So, is coffee good for you? Yes, it is. The key when it comes to coffee consumption, is moderation. Being made from coffee beans, which, because they are a plant food, means they contain a wide range of nutrients that support good health. Like anything else though, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if it’s good for you, more must be better.
However, coffee cannot cover all of your health needs, so it should be an addition to a well-rounded meal plan, not the star of the show. However, it’s a good idea to understand its benefits so you can incorporate it into your life in a healthy way.
How to Drink Coffee
It’s also important to note that the health benefits of coffee come from the coffee bean, meaning you get the most out of it by consuming plain black coffee. The sugar laden coffee drinks found in our favourite coffee shops are very high in sugar, fat, and calories, all of which pose health risks in high amounts. It’s vital to understand that if you want to maximise what coffee has to offer, you must choose it in a form that is as close to its natural state as possible. Quite simply, a caramel macchiato isn’t going to be as healthy as a mug of freshly brewed black coffee.
So, chosen with the right preparation method, coffee certainly offers some health perks. Among the top benefits are the following.
Coffee Boosts Energy
If you’re among the many people who stumble to the coffee pot as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning, you know that coffee has a great potential to wake you up and get you going. Because coffee contains caffeine, it offers the benefit of giving your body energy. Research studies show that drinking coffee improves memory and concentration, boosts mood, and increases reaction times, making it the ideal way to motivate yourself in the morning and throughout the day when your energy levels flag. Just try not to drink too much close to bedtime as it can interfere with good sleep patterns.
There’s a Reduced Risk of Diseases
Harvard University says that coffee has been one of the most heavily researched parts of the average diet in the last few years. That research has yielded several notable discoveries having to do with disease prevention. In fact, studies have shown a compelling link between drinking coffee and a reduced risk of heart disease, several types of cancer, including uterine and liver cancers, Parkinson’s disease, gout, cirrhosis. and type 2 diabetes. While the exact reasons for this reduced risk of disease isn’t fully understood currently, scientists theorise that it’s to do with the presence of caffeine, antioxidants, and other nutrients found in coffee beans.
Coffee Improves Physical Performance
When it comes to exercise, other than time constraints, being tired is one of the top reasons people avoid it. That’s where coffee comes in. According to research, consuming caffeine before a workout can boost your performance by waking up your body and revving up your metabolism. Experts say that caffeine enables both athletes and regular folks to work harder and longer, boosting the health effects of a regular exercise program. Sipping a mug of coffee can give you the motivation you need to hit the gym and ensure that you do your best while you’re there.
Coffee Contains Essential Nutrients
When nutrition experts recommend a varied diet it’s because eating many different kinds of foods helps ensure that you’re getting adequate amounts of all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body relies on for good health. Coffee is a one stop shop for many of these nutrients, though you should still include it in a well-balanced meal plan instead of relying on it alone to cover your needs. However, a cup of coffee can contribute to your intake of B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.
It Helps Protect the Brain
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are gaining attention as researchers continue working toward a cure. New studies show that keeping the brain active, via word puzzles and reading, can help promote a healthy brain and prevent cognitive decline. It turns out that sipping coffee can also help. The Alzheimer’s Society reports that people who don’t suffer from dementia have twice as much caffeine in their blood as those who do. Though there’s no way of knowing yet whether caffeine is the main reason why coffee has such a positive impact on brain function, it definitely shows promise as a way to ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Coffee Helps Protects the Liver
Your liver has the big job of filtering toxins from your body and maximising nutrient use throughout the body. It makes sense, then, that if your liver isn’t functioning optimally, you could be facing some pretty hefty health consequences, including fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. Coffee can help prevent this. Indeed, estimates show that people who drink 4 cups of coffee per day have an 80% lower risk of liver problems than those who drink less or none at all. The exact reason why isn’t fully understood yet, but the results are compelling enough to make coffee a healthy addition to your diet.
Coffee Makes You Happy
This is perhaps the top reason why so many people choose to drink coffee. The simple act of preparing a mug of warm java and enjoying it is enough to boost your mood and have you coming back for more. However, a recent study found that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee per day decreased the risk of depression by as much as 20%. Another study found that people who enjoyed 4 or more cups of coffee on a daily basis were at a 53% less risk of committing suicide. Much like the other benefits of coffee, the link appears to be the caffeine in coffee, though more research is needed to find definitive answers.
Prolongs Your Lifespan
No one wants to face their own mortality and many people spend all kinds of time, energy, and money on trying to live longer. While there are many healthy choices that promote a longer life, coffee is one that contributes in a significant way. There are many research studies that have compelling evidence that coffee drinkers live longer. This is likely due to the caffeine and antioxidant content in coffee beans, both of which lower the risk of the many health conditions discussed above. When those diseases are avoided, a person can naturally expect to see more birthdays than someone who doesn’t make healthy lifestyle choices. While you can’t rely on coffee to see you reach 100 years old, it can’t hurt to make it an inclusion on your list of healthy to-dos.
It’s important to re-emphasise that moderate coffee drinking is the best way to reap the benefits it has to offer. Some experts say that three cups per day is the ideal amount to aim for, though others raise that to 4 daily cups. Too much can make you jittery and cause difficulties with sleeping, in addition to other health risks. Start your day with a cup or two of coffee and save the other cups for later in the day to maximise the perks and get the most out of it.