Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages for a reason: It not only tastes good and gives you a serious jolt of energy, but it also has plenty of amazing, body-boosting benefits. Which, in all honestly, is a major bonus considering the fact that most people are simply pleased to have something to help them get through their morning meetings.
You probably think of coffee as a pick-me-up. But its effects don’t kick in for about 30 minutes. That means if you enjoy a cup of coffee just before taking a 20-30 minute nap, you may wake up feeling extra-energized. Just be sure you don't try this hack too late in the afternoon; it's best to stop consuming caffeine six hours before you hit the hay.
Yep, we went there. Drinking coffee typically makes you have to go to the bathroom because of its laxative effect. But how? In some studies, researchers have found coffee might stimulate the distal colon, which pushes waste out of your body quicker, and a 1990 study in the journal Gut found it only takes four minutes for coffee to start having an effect on your bathroom schedule.
In addition to the jolt of energy and focus you can get from the caffeine in coffee, the drink has a number of other health benefits. Coffee can lower your risk of liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and even some cancers. Multiple studies have shown that drinking multiple cups of coffee per day — yes, even three or four cups is OK — could prevent early death.
And the WHO is not the only organization to include coffee in its list of foods that are probably harmless and possibly healthy. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (commissioned by the secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture) thoroughly reviewed the evidence and declared that “moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern…” And the World Cancer Research Fund International concluded that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of several types of cancer.
The healthiest way to take your coffee is, of course, black. But if you can’t stand the taste of the bitter grounds on their own, we have a few pieces of good news for you. Firstly, some studies show that probably means you’re not a psychopath — congratulations. But secondly, there are other healthy options out there to add flavor to your beverage — without adding heaps of sugar.
Already think the benefits of coffee are endless? Well they pretty much are: It can even strengthen your DNA. A small 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found drinking coffee regularly significantly reduced the oxidative damage in the body’s white blood cells, which can hurt your DNA. Instead, the coffee—dark roast, in this case!—helped keep the DNA strong.
Anybody who’s serious about health knows the importance of a healthy cardiovascular system. What you may not know is by simply drinking 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day, you could significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease-related death. According to a Japanese study of more than 76,000 participants, men who hit this sweet spot (1-2 cups per day) consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%. Of course, this still doesn’t excuse you from doing actual cardio. (And if you really hate it that much, check out 8 cardio workouts for the guy who hates cardio.)
Before you dismiss it as another internet myth, take a second to read on a bit. A study that involved over 37,000 individuals over 13 years was carried was recently finalised by leading cardiology researchers. Surprising enough, the research unearthed the fact that moderate coffee consumers had a 20 percent reduced danger of heart diseases compared to light or heavy drinkers, and nondrinkers.
In fact, coffee shows more antioxidant activity than green tea and cocoa, two antioxidant superstars. Scientists have identified approximately 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during the roasting process. Numerous studies have cited coffee as a major — and in some cases, the primary — dietary source of antioxidants for its subjects.
When a group of volunteers received a dose of 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, about as much contained in a single cup of coffee, Austrian researchers found a surge in the volunteers’ brain activity, measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI), as they performed a memory task. The researchers noted that the memory skills and reaction times of the caffeinated volunteers were also improved when compared to the control group who received a placebo and showed no increase in brain activity.
There’s no need to try anything crazy; the only performance enhancer you really need is coffee. Research has shown its ability to give workouts a boost and increase athletic performance, and that’s exactly why you’ll find so many Olympians drinking it: One report from the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found the majority of the 20,686 Olympic athletes analyzed had caffeine in their urine.