I always loved coffee. Before I starting drinking it regularly, and even now that I gave up caffeine, I adore this bean. The aroma is incredible and the flavor is like nothing else. Plus, there are so many varieties. Everyone wants to love coffee, for one reason or another. But it is actually good for you? That is the eternal question. Today our guest poster is sharing 5 Health Benefits of Coffee You Need to Know.
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Guest Post: 5 Health Benefits of Coffee You Need to Know
There has been a lot of good news about coffee lately. Over the past few years, many scientific studies have demonstrated a variety of measurable benefits of coffee on health. The benefits range from those immediately felt to those that have an impact over the long haul, like disease prevention.
This is in sharp contrast to coffee’s earlier, less-than-stellar reputation. But, like many poor reputations, much of this was undeserved. Coffee has suffered from guilt by association — many people mentally pair coffee with cigarettes, an unhealthy lifestyle, insufficient sleep, and poor nutrition.
But coffee can also be part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it can even contribute to it. Here are five ways coffee can benefit your health and improve how you live your life.
1. Exercise More Effectively
Coffee can enhance your exercise routine. If part of your motivation for exercising includes weight management, you’ll be glad to know that caffeine — about the amount in a 12-ounce cup of coffee for a 150-pound adult — is associated with boosting your post-workout metabolism.
Caffeine is an ingredient in some pain relief medications. But the caffeine from coffee can be just as effective in relieving post-workout pain. Drinking coffee before a workout can be an effective and pleasurable measure for pain management, and can even help you power through some of the more strenuous parts of your workout.
Coffee can enhance your performance during a workout by intensifying the strength of muscle contractions.
A cup of coffee after exercising can also help your muscles refuel. The combination of caffeine and carbohydrates has been shown to be more effective than caffeine alone in replacing glycogen, muscle’s primary fuel during strenuous exercise.
2. Treat Your Brain Right
From the immediate effects of increased clarity and alertness to the long-range effects of preventing depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, coffee is a boon to the brain.
Coffee and Cognitive Function
We are all familiar with how coffee can enhance mental alertness. In appropriate amounts, caffeine is linked to enhanced cognitive function — visual attention and language processing. It also can shorten reaction time.
Caffeine also has measurable effects on night driving safety. It’s been proven that 150 mg of caffeine can reduce drowsiness in drivers by 25%. Another study cited by the same source showed that a strong coffee (4.2 ounces and 200 mg of caffeine) reduces driver impairment as effectively as a 30-minute nap.
Coffee and Happiness
Coffee can be effective in fighting depression. According to Food Research Journal, there is an inverse correlation between the incidence of depression and coffee consumption (i.e. more coffee seems to equate to less depression). It’s not just the caffeine, but also other components of coffee — chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid. Coffee’s polyphenols have also been directly linked to protecting against depression.
Coffee and Parkinson’s Disease
Coffee is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. According to the article “What is it about coffee?” by Harvard Health Publishing, adenosine is a brain chemical that dampens brain activity. The striatum — a part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s disease — has many adenosine receptors. The main target of the caffeine in coffee seems to be the brain’s adenosine receptors. According to the article, “by docking on them, caffeine seems to have some protective effects.”
Coffee and Alzheimer’s Disease
Studies are positive about coffee’s potential role in the protection against Alzheimer’s disease. This is due in part to coffee’s role in reducing brain inflammation, particularly at the adenosine receptors. Coffee has even been effective in delaying or even preventing Alzheimer’s in older adults already experiencing some memory impairment.
3. Prevent Disease
Coffee’s polyphenols and its other anti-inflammatory compounds can protect against inflammation. Although inflammation can be part of a healthy response from your immune system to an external threat — like a chemical or a microbe — chronic inflammation is another matter.
Coffee contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatories that can help reduce chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a side effect of a Western diet of processed foods like refined carbohydrates and processed meats. It can contribute to a lot of serious health issues, like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis.
Coffee is also a rich source of bioactive compounds that act as powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect our cells by neutralizing free radicals. Although they occur naturally in the body, free radicals are also generated by external sources, like pesticides, cigarette smoke, and radiation.
Besides Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of a number of diseases, including:
- Cardiovascular disease — heart attack, stroke, heart failure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Some types of cancer, including uterine cancer, prostate cancer, and liver cancer
4. Boost Your Nutrition
OK, coffee won’t boost your nutrition goals by much. But coffee does contain some important vitamins and minerals:
- Riboflavin — 11% of the Daily Value per cup
- Pantothenic acid — vitamin B5, 6% of the DV
- Potassium — 3% of the DV
- Manganese — 3% of the DV
- Niacin — 2% of the DV
- Thiamin — 2% of the DV
These amounts are per 8-ounce cup of coffee, so over the course of the day, they can add up.
You may not have thought of coffee as a source of fiber. But an 8-ounce cup of coffee has 1.5 mg of fiber. To put this into perspective, the American Dietetic Association recommends 38 mg per day for men, and 25 mg per day for women. A large (16 ounce) coffee has about as much fiber as a raw apple. Coffee may not be a go-to fiber source, but many Americans are not getting enough fiber, and a couple of cups of coffee might narrow that gap.
5. Live a Longer Life
Among the many health benefits linked to coffee drinking is simply living a longer life. A 2015 study linked coffee to an 8-15% reduction in mortality, with larger reductions in those who drank more coffee.
This is all great news. But coffee is a stimulant, and should be enjoyed in moderation. The Mayo clinic’s recommendation is that healthy adults not consume more than 400 mg a day of caffeine. That’s the equivalent of about four 8-ounce cups of coffee, enough for a pleasurable morning ritual plus a couple of breaks throughout the day.
Coffee can be a perky contribution to a healthy lifestyle. Drink up!
Learn More About the Author
Michael Shewmake started Atlas Coffee Club to highlight and celebrate the world of coffee. From Papua New Guinea to Peru, Burundi to Brazil, Michael is passionate about connecting coffee consumers to coffee countries around the globe, making a global coffee experience feel local. He also doesn’t dislike the advantages of running a coffee business, i.e. it being normal to drink 5+ cups a day.
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