The Health Benefits of Coffee
If you’re like us, you don’t go a day without coffee. But did you know your coffee habit can actually improve your health? Now that more studies are being done on coffee, it’s become clear that coffee has massive health benefits.
Here, we are exploring all these health benefits from disease prevention to improved physical performance. So, the next time your partner suggests that you’ve had one too many cappuccinos - show them this!
Improved Energy Levels and Brain Function
Right from the get-go, increased energy levels from coffee is a pretty obvious benefit. It’s likely one of the main reasons you drink coffee in the first place. But, it’s still worth a mention.
Coffee contains a stimulant called caffeine that’s responsible for helping us feel more awake. But as it gets absorbed into your blood and travels to your brain, some other fun stuff happens.
Once in the brain, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. From there, other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine continue to fire away. These particular neurotransmitters not only improve your mood, but also increase your energy and even encourages better brain function.
So, what they’re saying is - coffee makes you smart?! Well, not exactly. But it does help your brain function optimally. We’ll take it.
Assists in Burning Fat
If you’re looking to burn fat and lose weight, coffee can help with that as well. The caffeine in coffee is said to boost your metabolic rate by up to 11%. It’s no wonder that caffeine is one of the main ingredients in most weight loss supplements. However, we’d definitely prefer coffee over caffeine pills any day. Don’t you agree?
Better Physical Performance
As a stimulant, the caffeine in coffee can also boost your overall physical performance. By stimulating your nervous system, caffeine increases your body’s production of epinephrine (also known as adrenaline).
Epinephrine is the hormone responsible for your fight or flight response and prepares your body to take action. Plus, as we’ve mentioned, caffeine helps your body rapidly break down fat which can then be used for energy.
All in all, having a coffee about an hour before hitting the gym seems to be the perfect pre-workout.
Provides Essential Nutrients
Amazingly, coffee beans hold onto much of their dense nutrition even after the roasting process takes place. In one cup of coffee, you’ll find 11% of your daily requirements of vitamin B2, 6% of what’s required in vitamin B5, 3% of potassium and manganese, and 2% of vitamin B3.
You’re right. That’s not much in terms of percentage. But let’s be honest - are you really only having one cup of coffee per day? These nutrients quickly add up for most Aussies.
Good Source of Antioxidants
Here in Australia, we’re lucky with how much access we have to fresh food and a high-quality diet. Yet, many of us still follow a Westernised diet, which doesn’t necessarily provide us with the most complete nutrition.
However, our coffee can help us fill in the blanks left by our dietary habits. Coffee is rather high in its antioxidant levels and studies show that people in Western countries get more of them from coffee than from fruits and vegetables. Perhaps an embarrassing statistic but at least coffee has our backs.
Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes affects millions of people around the world. High blood sugar levels over many years can cause insulin resistance which is the cornerstone of Type 2 Diabetes. However, some studies have shown that coffee lovers are far less at risk of developing the condition.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we should go crazy on the sugar in hopes that our coffee will protect us from diabetes. But this perk is certainly not a bad thing.
Protection from Dementia
Dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s affect our elderly populations and are truly debilitating. Although there is no cure for these conditions, there are ways to prevent its onset.
Of course, eating nutritious foods and exercising are important in every sense, but drinking coffee can help protect us from dementia as well. Remember how we mentioned that coffee drinking can improve brain function? We think there’s got to be a connection.
Lower Risk of Parkinson’s
Right behind Alzheimer’s is another hugely prevalent neurodegenerative disease called Parkinson’s. It’s caused when the dopamine-generating neurons in your brain disintegrate.
Similar to most forms of dementia, there is no cure for Parkinson’s. However, some evidence suggests that coffee drinkers present a lower risk of developing the disease. And this goes for caffeinated coffee, not decaf.
Ah, the liver - one of our most important organs. The liver is our own personal detoxification station and carries out hundreds of essential functions in our bodies. Several diseases can affect the liver such as hepatitis and fatty liver disease, many of which can lead to cirrhosis.
Some studies found that coffee can protect our livers from cirrhosis. If you have four cups a day, it showed an 80% lower risk. Another good reason not to quit your coffee habit.
Depression is incredibly common and the more we learn about it, the more we understand how debilitating it can be to our quality of life. A Harvard study from 2011 showed that women who consumed four or more cups of coffee per day showed a 20% reduced risk for developing depression.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
Lower Risk of Certain Cancers
Most of us have been directly affected by cancer. Whether a family member, friend, or you yourself have dealt with the horrors of cancer, it’s so common that most of us will have first-hand experience with the disease.
Cancer is characterised by uncontrolled cell growth in the body and while we can’t claim that coffee cures cancer, it can lower your risk for some types of cancer - specifically, liver and colorectal cancer.
These findings were present in those who drink four or more cups of coffee per day and it seems clear that there’s a connection between coffee and a healthy liver. With liver cancer being the third-leading cause of cancer-related death, this is an amazing benefit.