There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of some delicious coffee creeping in from the kitchen. I love it!
I don’t need coffee to get going in the morning, but it certainly helps. Hot coffee and a cold shower – there’s no better way to get an energized start to your day.
Now, coffee has received a lot of bad press over the years, but I’m here to set the record straight. There are actually some health benefits to drinking coffee. That is, assuming you don’t overdo it.
Health Benefits of Coffee
It turns out that coffee isn’t just something you drink to start kicking ass first thing in the morning. Coffee has a wide range of health benefits, actually.
Let’s take a look at some of the common benefits.
Coffee Can Help Prevent Type II Diabetes
There is solid evidence based on over 15 published studies that the consumption of coffee can lower the risk of Type II Diabetes. The downside, or upside – depending on how you look at it – is that these benefits are present in individuals who drink upwards of 7 cups of coffee a day. To see a 35% decrease in the chance of Diabetes the participants drank 6-7 cups, while 4-6 cups can decrease chances by 28%.
Coffee contains Magnesium and Chromium, which help the body manage glucose levels by optimizing insulin use.
I personally don’t recommend drinking that much coffee, but at least you’ll have an excuse to justify it if you so choose.
Coffee Improves Energy Levels and Cognitive Performance
Improved energy levels? Never would’ve guessed that one, huh? The stimulant in coffee, caffeine, is what provides the energy boost you get from your morning cup of joe.
However, caffeine also has some cognitive benefits as well. While many people classify caffeine with nootropics, it technically is not a nootropic. Caffeine has some similar benefits though.
When caffeine reaches the brain it blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. The resulting effect is enhanced firing of neurons from an increase in the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Norepinephrine.
This is what explains the improved mood, memory, reaction time, energy and overall cognitive performance we experience from caffeine.
Coffee Increases Physical Performance
Another health benefit from the caffeine in coffee, is improved performance in the gym.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that improves physical performance in 2 ways:
- Caffeine sends a signal to the body to break down fat cells, releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream to be used as fuel
- Caffeine increases Epinephrine, also know as Adrenaline, which primes the body for intense physical performance
Want to know something that many supplement companies don’t want you to understand? The only ingredient in most pre-workout supplements that you are getting immediate benefit from is Caffeine!
Sure, there are things like Creatine which have been proven to work slowly with long-term use. I’m talking about the ingredients that make sense to take directly before a workout for immediate benefit. If you simply want a quick boost in your performance in the gym, all you need is a cup of coffee – which is a fraction of the price of a pre-workout.
Coffee Can Aid Weight Loss
Caffeine is one of the few natural drugs that has been proven to help people burn fat.
Numerous studies have found that Caffeine increases the metabolic rate, which leads to quicker fat loss. The interesting finding is that the effect is stronger on leaner individuals than overweight individuals. Also, it should be noted that these effects seem to diminish in some long-term users of Caffeine.
Don’t expect to see any weight loss if you ruin your coffee with sugar and cream though.
Coffee is the Number 1 Source of Antioxidants in the American Diet
While fruits and veggies have a lot of antioxidants, apparently coffee has more than both of them combined. Not only that, but the human body appears to absorb more antioxidants from coffee than anything else that has been studied.
Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Various Cancers
It seems like nearly anything can cause cancer at this point. So it’s nice to know that at least our morning cup of coffee can help us fight off the evils that the rest of the world throws at us.
Several studies have found that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of liver, colon, breast, rectal, prostate, and kidney cancers.
Coffee May Lower the Risk of Stroke
Remember when people used to say that coffee caused heart disease? Well, the evidence overwhelmingly disproves that myth.
In addition, some studies actually show that coffee can reduce the risk of stroke.
At this point you’re probably thinking this all sounds too good to be true. I’m going to get into the potential health risks, but first I just want to make something clear.
While it’s nice to see all of these great benefits from coffee, just keep in mind that there’s a study for everything. Coffee isn’t a miracle drink or anything. I’m not saying that all of the above is bullshit, or else why would I take the time to write it out?
No, I’m just saying you shouldn’t attach a coffee IV to yourself thinking you’re going to have super powers and prevent yourself from ever getting cancer.
Now that I’ve brought you back down to reality, let’s look at the potential health risks.
Health Risks of Coffee
The biggest risk people bring up is the increase in blood pressure that results from caffeine consumption.
Caffeine does slightly increase blood pressure. However, this tends to fade away with regular use. There is a catch though. For some people, it doesn’t fade away. So if you already have high blood pressure, this is something you will want to monitor. (Not that you’re reading this article and trying coffee for the first time. Or are you?)
Coffee also has a laxative effect. I actually see this as a good thing, because it helps you clear out the pipes first thing in the morning. However, if you drink a lot of coffee or have IBS this could become very irritating.
There’s a downside to Caffeine being a CNS stimulant and that is adrenal fatigue. The increase in adrenaline actually wears your body out, which causes you to feel like you need more caffeine to feel energized. Also, this can cause an increase in stress and anxiety.
This is the main reason why I don’t drink more than a couple of cups of coffee a day. Also, when you consume Caffeine later in the day it will lower your sleep quality.
So these are just a few things to keep in mind. Remember, nothing in life is free – there’s always a give and take.
To be honest, I drink coffee almost every day. I don’t damage the flavor of those tasty coffee beans by adding sugar or cream. Black coffee is where it’s at guys.
I’m not against pre-workout supplements. I like to use them, however I typically add some nootropics to them when I go that route. Otherwise, I’ve found coffee alone to be all I need as a boost before going to the gym.
All of the health benefits of coffee are just an added bonus, in my opinion. If you’ve been told your whole life that coffee is bad for you – I hope this sets the record straight.
Until Next Time,
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What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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