If you can’t imagine starting your day without a cup of coffee, you aren’t alone. Almost every adult has sipped coffee at one point in their life, as it is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.
Coffee is one of those beverages that faces a constant battle: is it healthy or is it dangerous? Numerous studies and articles have been written about the benefits and possible dangers of coffee, but the consensus is that a simple mug of brewed coffee is highly beneficial for your overall health. What exactly can that morning cup of joe do for your health? Read on to find out!
Benefits of Coffee
Protection from Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is an incurable, debilitating disease that attacks your nervous system and is characterized by tremors and difficulty in movement.
A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000 revealed that the men involved in the study who drank more coffee were less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease than the men who didn’t. This is due to the fact that caffeine crosses the blood-brain barrier and helps to speed up brain activity.
This increased speed of brain activity can protect brain health and slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
A study conducted and released in the Heart Journal in 2015 reported that those who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had the lowest amount of calcium build-up in their hearts, which means they had a much less likely chance of developing heart disease.
This is probably due to not only the caffeine found in coffee, but also the phenols, antioxidants that are found inside of coffee beans.
A Vast Amount of Antioxidants
Though fruits and vegetables provide an abundance of nutrients including antioxidants, a 2005 study by the University of Scranton has revealed coffee to be the number one source of antioxidants in many diets and lifestyles.
Though produce does contain high amounts of antioxidants, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the body can absorb them all. This same study also revealed that the human body absorbs antioxidants from coffee the best, for reasons yet to be determined.
This doesn’t mean that you should eliminate produce from your diet and up your coffee consumption, however. Fruits and vegetables still provide valuable nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, that are essential for a healthy, strong body.
Improves Various Brain Functions
Most coffee drinkers sip on a cup of coffee each morning for the sole purpose of waking up.
The caffeine coffee provides can perk up the brain, helping people to wake up and feel less tired. After you consume coffee, the caffeine travels through the bloodstream to the brain.
Once there, caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Studies have revealed that caffeine boosts various brain functions including memory, mood, energy, reaction times and cognitive functions.
Can Aid in Fat Loss
Caffeine is found in virtually every commercial fat burning supplement and for good reason. Caffeine is one of the very few natural substances that has been proven to aid in fat burning by as much as 3-11 %.
This metabolic boost can be the extra push that your body needs to shed that extra fat, so don’t waste money on fat loss supplements that make big promises but never deliver.
Can Improve Physical Performance
Endurance athletes have been using coffee before races and athletic events for years now, why shouldn’t you?
Caffeine increases adrenaline levels as well as the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream.
This increase in fatty acids in the blood allows the body to use those fats for energy, saving the much important glycogen stores for later on in the workout.
Studies have shown that this effect can help to increase physical performance by 12% on average.
Can Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
According to The American Chemical Society, coffee can also aid in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes. The study found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee per day reduced their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 50 percent.
Scientists have discovered that human islet amyloid polypeptide (hlAPP) is a substance that can trigger the development of type 2 diabetes.
Two categories of compounds found in coffee have been found to significantly block hlAPP, thus reducing the chances of type 2 diabetes developing.
Coffee Isn’t For Everyone
Though coffee can be highly beneficial for your health, it isn’t for everyone. Due to the amount of caffeine in coffee there can be some potential dangers to drinking it, especially in large amounts.
Caffeine, as well as the various acids found in coffee, can sometimes irritate the stomach lining as well as the small intestine.
Those who suffer from ulcers, IBS, and Chron’s disease are typically told to avoid coffee for these reasons.
Caffeine can also have negative effects such as headaches, jitters, and heart palpitations. This is typical of people who consume too much caffeine.
Avoid these symptoms by simply listening to your body and its reaction to coffee. If you find yourself experiencing negative side effects, simply cut back or switch to another caffeine alternative such as tea.
Not All Coffee is the Same
This should go without saying, but not all coffee provides the abundant list of health benefits listed above.
Those sugar-laden mochas you get from your favorite coffee shop are not a good source of antioxidants at all, but are instead sources of sugar, fat, and unwanted excess calories.
Keep your cup of joe simple, with just a splash of cream and sugar if really needed.