Coffee has a deserved reputation as being an early-morning essential, a pick-me-up to set the day in motion. What's perhaps less widely known is that coffee and health are very much connected and in many ways. The consumption of coffee has a wide range of positive health effects that can make that morning jolt only the start of the benefits it offers.
Increased Mental Energy
Greater alertness is by far the most widely known and utilized benefit of coffee, and it's not just an illusion. More neurons fire in the brain more efficiently after consuming caffeine, leading to improved concentration, memory, and reaction times. Of course, too much caffeine can be counterproductive, causing over-stimulation, anxiety, and then an ensuing feeling of tiredness.
Increased Physical Energy
Alongside the mental stimulation effects, coffee also increases levels of adrenaline, the hormone that primes the body for action. Drinking a cup of strong coffee shortly before a workout will give you more energy and stamina, making your exercise session more intensive and therefore more effective. Remember that as a general rule, there is less caffeine in dark roast coffee compared to light roasts coffee.
An Aid to Weight Loss
Caffeine is found in nearly all “herbal” weight-loss supplements because it's one of the few natural substances that can be effective against excess weight. Studies have shown that caffeine can raise the drinker's metabolic rate by between 3 percent and 11 percent, meaning the body burns through calories more quickly. It also suppresses appetite, making it doubly effective for people trying to diet. Helping with weight loss is a major reason why coffee and health are so intertwined. Staying healthy and fit is more than just a confidence booster as it will literally improve everything you do in life. If you're looking to supplement any of your weight loss efforts, consider purchasing fitness subscription boxes.
Coffee and Health: Coffee is a Nutrient!
A cup of coffee contains vitamins and minerals as well as caffeine. An average cup will contain vitamins B2 and B5, potassium, niacin, magnesium, and more, and if you take your coffee with milk, the nutritional value will be even greater.
Helps the Fight Against Diabetes
Protection Against Dementia
Again, there is no solid theory to explain the effect, but coffee drinkers have long been found to have a reduced risk of developing dementia, more specifically Alzheimer's, the most common form. It is thought that the caffeine reduces tissue inflammation in the brain, which is a key factor in the onset of dementia.
Parkinson's Disease Protection
Studies have shown that coffee reduces the chances of developing Parkinson's disease by about one-third. Although it is not known exactly why this happens, it is interesting to note that this effect was not found among drinkers of decaffeinated coffee.
Improved Liver Function
Cirrhosis is a life-threatening liver condition characterized by the build up of fatty scar tissue, usually brought on by hepatitis C, chronic drinking, and extreme obesity. It seems that coffee helps protect against the development of these fatty tissues, which is a good reason to have a coffee the morning after the night before. The best protection, of course, is to be found in living a healthy lifestyle rather than relying on caffeine to bail you out after you overindulge.
Antioxidants are extremely beneficial substances, helping to protect against aging, cancer, and many health problems related to tissue damage or deterioration. Coffee contains a substantial amount of antioxidants; in fact, it's estimated that the average American ingests more of them through coffee than through any other food or drink, making this a convenient source.
Potential Problems to Consider
As this article illustrates, coffee and health are very much connected. But it's not all good news for coffee fans. Excessive consumption, particularly on an empty stomach, has been shown to raise the risks of intestinal and stomach problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, while long-term overuse of caffeine can lead to higher blood pressure and the associated risk of heart disease.
However, it's important to recognize that these downsides only come into the picture when relatively high amounts are consumed over an extended period. At typical consumption levels, the many benefits of coffee far outweigh the potential drawbacks.