Health Benefits Of Coffee
Coffee does more than wake you up in the morning. In fact, the list of health benefits of coffee is a very long and impressive one.
A study published by the British Nutrition Foundation shows that coffee is not only safe to drink but it also improves cognitive function, especially vigilance and alertness, mood, and fatigue perception. Furthermore, coffee can increase your nutrients levels and physical performance while decreasing your risk of getting sick.
So pour yourself a cup of coffee and read about the benefits of your favorite beverage.
Coffee Makes You Smarter And Improves Energy Levels
Many coffee benefits are associated with caffeine content. The psychoactive substance acts as a stimulant. Thus, after drinking coffee, caffeine is absorbed by the body and reaches the bloodstream. Then, it reaches the brain where it blocks adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. As adenosine is blocked, dopamine and norepinephrine levels increase. This results in your neurons working harder than they usually do.
Controlled studies highlighted that coffee helps different brain functions, like memory and mood. At the same time, it increases energy levels, general mental function and improves reaction times. This is why coffee consumption is very efficient at helping you work or study. This study published by Springer Link shows that caffeine consumption leads to increase alertness and vigilance but also improved performance for cognitive and reactive tasks.
Improved Physical Performance
Caffeine is very good at stimulating the nervous system. When you drink coffee, fat cells are signaled to start breaking down body fat while also increasing blood adrenaline levels.
Adrenaline is known as the “fight or flight hormone” and helps the body to get ready for a very intense physical activity. As a result, caffeine is very good at breaking down the fat inside your body. Free fatty acids are made available as fuel. Due to these effects, caffeine is capable of improving physical performance. On average, the improvement you gain is around 11 percent.
Many athletes drink a cup of coffee approximately 30 minutes before going to the gym to help them train harder and get more gains.
Increased Consumption Of Essential Nutrients
Coffee beans contain numerous nutrients that are great for the human body. Many of them are also available in brewed coffee. One cup of strong coffee contains:
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 11 percent of RDI (Reference Daily Intake).
- Potassium and manganese – 3 percent of RDI.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – 6 percent of RDI.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) and magnesium – 2 percent of RDI.
The amounts mentioned do not seem like much but most people who enjoy coffee do not drink just one cup per day. As you consume more coffee, amounts quickly add up.
Coffee As A Fat Burner
Take a look at the best fat-burning supplements you can find. You will notice that most of them include caffeine. This is because caffeine is proven to help the body burn fat. In fact, there are not many natural substances that can do that.
Studies show that caffeine can increase your metabolic rate by 3 to 11 percent. Moreover, the same studies discovered that caffeine directly increases fat burning by around 10 percent in people that are obese and 29 percent in people that are lean.
The problem is that such effects end up diminishing when you drink a lot of coffee for a long period of time. Even so, coffee still helps the body to burn more fat and can be a good addition to your diet when you have a weight loss goal.
Coffee Might Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
There are millions of people that suffer because of type 2 diabetes. The disease is characterized by having high blood sugar levels. This happens as the body’s ability to naturally secrete insulin is affected or the body gains high insulin resistance.
In some studies, it was shown that people that drink coffee have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes of 60 percent or even more.
Other studies focused on analyzing the link between type 2 diabetes and coffee. When adding up the results of 18 of them (featuring 457,922 people), one cup of coffee per day was linked to a reduced type 2 diabetes risk of 7 percent. This shows that for some people coffee might be more effective than for others. However, even a small reduction in risk can be valuable.
Coffee Might Protect The Liver
The liver is a very important organ for us and it is responsible for numerous vital functions. Unfortunately, different diseases can affect it, like fatty liver disease or hepatitis. Many conditions that affect the liver lead to the appearance of cirrhosis, which means the liver is damaged and most of it is replaced with scar tissue. As you can imagine, the condition is serious.
Coffee might protect you from cirrhosis. The Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase enzymes study showed that people who drink over 4 cups of coffee per day have an 80 percent lower risk of developing cirrhosis.
Coffee Helps Fight Depression
Depression is a very serious mental disorder that is much more common than many believe. In fact, in the US alone, it is estimated that 4.1% of people have clinical depression.
Fortunately for the coffee drinkers, a 2011 Harvard study showed that women who drink over 4 cups of coffee per day are less likely to become depressed by 20 percent than those who do not drink as much coffee or those who don’t like drinking coffee at all.
Coffee Might Protect You From Dementia And Alzheimer’s
Worldwide, the leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, which is a serious neurodegenerative condition that not only affects patients but also their families. Usually, the condition affects people that are older than 65. Sadly, at the moment there is no known cure. Fortunately, different things can be done in order to prevent the appearance of the disease. This includes drinking coffee. A few cups of coffee per day alongside exercising and healthy eating can decrease the risk of developing the condition.
Coffee Might Lower Stroke Risk
There is a common misconception that those who enjoy coffee drinking are more likely to have heart problems. This is because caffeine is linked to increased blood pressure. While it is true that caffeine can increase blood pressure, the rise is of just around 4 mm/HG. Usually, the effects dissipate as you regularly drink coffee. However, if you have blood pressure problems, the effects may persist so it is best to avoid drinking too many cups of coffee per day.
With all this in mind, there is no proof that coffee makes it more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. The contrary is actually true as there is evidence that coffee consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Specific studies were done to analyze stroke risk. Results showed that coffee drinkers are, in fact, less likely to have a stroke.
Coffee Might Lower Parkinson’s Risks
The two most common neurodegenerative conditions are Alzheimer’s (already mentioned above) and Parkinson’s, which is caused by dopamine-generating neurons dying inside the brain. Similarly to Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s has no cure. Prevention is the only thing that can help.
Coffee drinkers were shown to have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s. The risk reduction gained ranges between 32 and 60 percent.
Coffee Might Lower Cancer Risks
Studies have shown that coffee may be effective in protecting people against 2 types of cancer: colorectal and liver cancer. This is important to remember because liver cancer stands out as the third cancer death cause. Colorectal cancer is ranked number four.
Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing liver cancer by 40%, according to a study published by the American Gastroenterological Association. With colorectal cancer, studies found that the risk is lower by 15% for those that drink around 5 cups of coffee per day.
Coffee Includes Numerous Antioxidants
When you eat the standard Western diet, you should know that coffee is very beneficial. This is because coffee is very rich in antioxidants that are oftentimes absent from Western dishes. In fact, studies highlighted that people on the Western Diet, get more beneficial antioxidants from drinking coffee than from anything else including vegetables and fruits. This actually makes coffee a very healthy drink, one of the healthiest people drink right now actually.
How Much Coffee Is Good For You?
Coffee includes hundreds of great bioactive compounds for your body. Numerous health benefits are associated with coffee consumption. Is coffee bad for you? Absolutely not. However, it is important to know how many cups per day are considered safe and how many to be excess.
But, since there are many different types of coffee drinks you can buy or make at home it’s hard to say how many cups per day you can have. It varies greatly. Simply put, how much coffee you can safely drink is all about the caffeine in the beverage, not about the number of cups of coffee.
Coffee Caffeine Content
The caffeine content of coffee varies a lot. It ranges from 50 mg per cup and 400 mg per cup. One small cup of coffee that you brew at home might offer 50 mg of caffeine and a Starbucks 16-ounce grande pack might offer over 300 mg of caffeine.
Generally, the assumption is that a regular cup of black coffee (8 ounces) includes 100 mg. According to various sources, for most adults, the safe daily caffeine intake is 400 mg, which means 4 cups. Even so, there are numerous people that drink a lot more every day and do not have problems.
What needs to be taken into account is that there are various caffeine sources other than coffee beans. This includes soft drinks, chocolate, some medications, energy drinks, and even tea so coffee drinkers should pay attention to these as well if they want to limit caffeine intake.
If you are considering watching your intake, you may want to look into buying a good quality coffee machine that will help make sure you can better measure what you are consuming
Signs Of Excess Caffeine Intake
Because it is very hard to calculate how much caffeine you consume, in order to be safe, you need to be aware of the signs that you had too much. The real problems appear when coffee consumption happens during a really short period of time. The signs that you took in too much include:
- An upset stomach
- Fast heartbeat
When you drink coffee and you experience the symptoms mentioned, it is possible that you are more sensitive to caffeine. Therefore, you should cut intake and avoid coffee, unless decaf.
In theory, it is possible to die because of an overdose of caffeine. However, this is close to impossible for coffee drinkers because they would need to drink over 100 cups in 24 hours.
So is coffee good for you? Yes! Coffee consumption can rarely impact your health in a negative way.
Your Caffeine Toleration Levels
Caffeine will affect different people in various ways. Recently, researchers discovered certain genes that affect the sensitivity people have to the stimulant. The genes practically affect enzymes responsible for breaking down the caffeine inside the liver and the brain receptors affected by the stimulant.
In addition, how caffeine affects your sleeping patterns is determined genetically. There are people that will drink coffee and easily go to sleep right after and others that end up staying awake for the entire night. Based on the genetic makeup of every individual, coffee drinking is tolerated differently by different people. For some, only a little is needed for lots of energy while others need to increase their coffee consumption to feel the same boost in energy levels. The good news is that the majority of people fall in the middle of the spectrum.
Another thing to know is that acquired tolerance is a real thing experienced by coffee drinkers. When you’re drinking coffee every single day, you end up tolerating a lot more caffeine than people that rarely drink coffee. Also, some medical conditions affect caffeine sensitivity. Those that have panic disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, anxiety, and other medical conditions should discuss coffee intake with a doctor as less caffeine might be tolerated.
Conclusions - Is Coffee Good For Our Health?
Because coffee reduces the risk of getting sick and provides people with so many additional benefits, it is actually safe to conclude that coffee is not only good for us but it can help us live longer as well. As long as you do not have any health problems that prevent you from drinking coffee, you can safely enjoy a few cups per day. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives.