Your daily cup of coffee may be doing more for you than providing that early-morning pick-me-up. The health impact of coffee has long been a controversial topic, with advocates touting its antioxidant activity and brain-boosting ability, and detractors detailing downsides such as insomnia, indigestion and an increased heart rate and blood pressure. But the latest wave of scientific evidence brings a wealth of good news for coffee lovers. Here are 10 reasons drinking coffee may be healthier for you than you thought.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that caffeine is dehydrating, one of the primary reasons why fitness experts recommend nixing coffee pre- and post-workout. However, recent research suggests that moderate caffeine consumption — up to about 500 mg, or about five cups per day — doesn’t dehydrate exercisers enough to interfere with their workout. In addition, coffee helps battle fatigue, enabling you to exercise longer.
Associative addictions trend with coffee -- who doesn't immediately think of warm, frothy sweet cream and sugar when they picture coffee? Surely the business of coffee has inspired a culture addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal than a drink! That morning latte is the epitome of food lacking nutrition density yet packing energy!
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.
“Absolutely not,” says Donald Hensrud, medical director of Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program. “You have to enjoy life, and if you enjoy tea, keep on enjoying it. It’s all good. There are health benefits to coffee, to black tea and to green tea.” But there can also be problems associated with higher doses of caffeine, he notes. The amount in more than two cups of coffee a day, for example, can interfere with conception and increase the risk of miscarriage. And, he says, because individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates, slow metabolizers may be more susceptible to side effects such as heartburn, insomnia, heart palpitations and irritability.
Alternatively, opt for “milks” and creamers made from almond, coconut, cashew, and other plant sources. They can be much lower in calories than traditional creamers; and they're often produced with all-natural ingredients (read: no high-fructose corn syrup) and provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. If you prefer a flavored or sweetened version, check the grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts panel. Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon.
A 2016 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found drinking coffee might be able to help you lose weight thanks to caffeine’s ability to increase thermogenesis, fat oxidation, and lipolysis. But more research still needs to be done, so don’t count as your Starbuck runs as a way to drop the pounds. Especially if you’re drinking something that’s not simple, black coffee.
One of the best tricks for slashing your sugar intake is to reach for “sweet” spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In addition to boosting flavor and aroma, spices seriously up your antioxidant intake. (Cinnamon has the added perk of helping with blood sugar and insulin regulation.) You could also try a spice combo, like pumpkin or apple pie spice, or sprinkle in raw (non-Dutched) cocoa powder, another antioxidant-rich add-in.
Malignant melanomas are the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer and one of the most common cancer types in the United States. Studies have found that there is potentially as much as a 20 percent lower risk when a person drinks a minimum of four cups of coffee daily. The type of coffee matters here, as the study showed that decaffeinated coffee was not as effective. Studies on non-melanoma cancer and coffee have shown that people were 17 percent less likely to develop the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, if they drank three or more cups of coffee daily.
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.
Previous research had suggested as much. For example, a 2017 report in the Annual Review of Nutrition, which analyzed the results of more than 100 coffee and caffeine studies, found coffee was associated with a probable decreased risk of cardiovascular disease—as well as type 2 diabetes and several kinds of cancer. The new paper, published Thursday in PLOS Biology, identifies a specific cellular mechanism by which coffee consumption may improve heart health.
Need a little boost to get you through your HIIT workout? A 2013 study from PLoS One shows that athletes who consumed coffee an hour before exercise had greater performance than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. Plus, a 2015 study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that people who drink coffee before a workout burn more calories after exercise, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This means that even if your spin class is over, your body will continue to burn more calories. We’ll drink to that! ☕
Being coordinated is a true blessing, and if you could use some help in that department, you’re not alone. A 2010 review in the journal Nutrition found the caffeine in coffee can actually enhance neuromuscular coordination, making your brain send messages to your muscles faster. That helps with a lot of things, tripping on random cracks in the sidewalk included.
It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.
Green tea: Health benefits, side effects, and research While green tea may still be less popular than black, its medicinal properties have been acknowledged for centuries throughout the world. Green tea may benefit the heart, soothe skin and enhance memory. It may even aid in the treatment of several types of cancer. Learn more about potential benefits and risks here. Read now