Contrary to what many health experts and other laypeople just like you and I used to think about Coffee, research keeps revealing new health benefits of our favorite drink. These health benefits range from improving mental health to treating liver disease; find out below how Coffee provides all these health benefits.
First, what is it about Coffee?
You may have people around you who are completely sold out on coffee. Here is why?
The active ingredient in coffee is Caffeine, whose primary function is to act as a stimulant for your central nervous system. Caffeine is, in fact, the most used psychoactive substance in the world. Caffeine is similarly found in medications to treat or manage illnesses such as drowsiness, headaches, and migraines.
When Caffeine is taken and reaches the brain, its primary effect is an increased level of alertness, which explains why many take a cup of coffee as a routine before starting the day. It is to them like a shot of energy in the body system. Caffeine can improve mood, memory, vigilance, and general cognitive functions. The benefits of Caffeine are not limited to the brain alone. Caffeine has its positive effects on the muscles by boosting muscle contractions, thereby enhancing physical performances and offsetting physical exertion effects such as fatigue. While Caffeine and its positive effects on the brain are studied more than any other ingredient in a coffee drink, there are a thousand other substances in Coffee that are thought to add up to the overall health benefits you reap from a cup of Coffee.
Another component of Coffee is Chlorogenic acid which is the primary antioxidant in your cup of Coffee. Antioxidants absorb reactive molecules in the body before they get to harm body tissues. It has been proven that coffee consumption lowers heart disease rates and diabetes, all thanks to Chlorogenic acid and other antioxidant substances in Coffee. Some other studies have shown that Chlorogenic acid may also check absorption of glucose in the digestive system and even out insulin levels.
Since coffee is a plant-based drink, it contains tiny amounts of vitamins and minerals such as Magnesium and niacin. These amounts are so small that it can almost be scoffed at, but it is something nonetheless. A cup of coffee contains about 7 mg of Magnesium, which is a drop of water in the daily requirement of 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. However, the average American never used to take enough of the daily requirement; hence, a cup or two of coffee helps bridge the gap a little.
While the most common benefits your colleague(s) will reel out to defend their love for coffee will sound like increased alertness, less fatigue, or just more pump, even they might not know of the many benefits a cup of coffee keeps adding on to them internally.
Caffeine in Coffee, How much is too much?
Over the years, people have been bothered about the side effects of drinking coffee because of its caffeine content. Indeed, excess intake of caffeine can cause problems. However, it would be best if you remembered many other caffeine sources exist asides from coffee; these include tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, and certain medications. Several studies have shown that you do not need to fret about drinking two or three cups of coffee or even more per day. Generally, it is assumed that an average 8-ounce (240-ml) cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of Caffeine, while a small home-brewed cup of coffee contains about 50 mg. Research has shown that taking 400 mg of Caffeine per day (4 cups) is safe for most healthy adults. In fact, many people drink more than 4 cups of coffee in a day without experiencing any issues. These all depend on a person’s health history, sensitivity, and tolerance to Caffeine.
9 ways you can benefits from Coffee
Here, we have pointed out some fascinating health benefits of coffee. You might be surprised at how versatilely healthy your favorite beverage is.
Coffee and diabetes
Coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes. Here is how:
Research has found three compounds in coffee (Caffeine, Caffeic acid, and Chlorogenic acid) that can block the toxic accumulation or reverse the harmful process of a particular protein linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This protein is called HIAPP (human islet amyloid polypeptide). These coffee components may explain why coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Previous research had shown that people who drank four to six cups of coffee each day appeared to have a lower risk of certain conditions such as Stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic syndromes. Studies have shown that people who increased their coffee consumption by at least one cup per day over some time have at least an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who did not increase their intake. Regular intake of a minimum of 3 cups of coffee per day is associated with a lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Coffee and Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the structure and function of the central nervous system. It is the second most common disease of its type, right after Alzheimer’s. Parkinson’s disease has no known cure, which makes its prevention extremely important. Studies show that coffee lovers have a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, a reduction ranging from about 32% to 60%. All thanks to Caffeine in Coffee which stimulates dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. A group of researchers found that men who drink over four cups of coffee per day might have a five-time lower risk of Parkinson’s disease than those who do not take it. What’s more? As found in a 2012 study, Caffeine in Coffee may help control movement in people who already have Parkinson’s disease.
Coffee and liver cancer
The liver is one of the most vital organs in the human body. Several common diseases affect the liver. Many of these conditions, such as hepatitis, may lead to a liver problem called Cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the complication of many liver diseases, which results in malfunctioning and abnormality of the liver, where the liver is largely replaced by scar tissue. Interestingly, regular intake of coffee may protect against Cirrhosis. Several studies have shown that people who drink four or more cups of coffee per day have up to an 80% lower risk of cirrhosis or liver cancer. Some other researches have suggested that people who drink three cups per day might have up to 50% lower Cirrhosis risk.
Coffee and other liver diseases
Coffee shows significant help as regards other liver diseases such as Gall stone disease, Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). These are autoimmune conditions that first scar the bile ducts and goes on to cause damage to the liver. Several studies have shown that people who drink two or more cups of coffee may have a lower risk of gallstone disease by 66%.
Coffee and heart health
There are many claims to increased blood pressure associated with coffee intake. While this is true, the rise in blood pressure has been scientifically proven to have little to no effect. Also, regular intake of coffee gradually wades off these effects. In as little as a week, regular coffee drinkers will stop experiencing raised blood pressure as they develop a partial or even complete tolerance to its adrenaline-stimulating effects.
That being said, several studies have shown that regular coffee intake protects against heart failure and other heart diseases. People who drank moderate amounts of coffee per day (2-3 cups) had an 11% lower risk of heart failure than does who did not take coffee at all. Just as in cardiovascular exercises, which improve heart health, caffeine consumption holds benefits for your heart too. Drinking coffee in moderation, or consuming around two 8-ounce servings per day, may protect against heart failure.
Coffee and Mental Health
Do you know that drinking coffee is associated with improved mental health and mood? Yes, coffee can help fight depression and make you Happier. Depression is no joke. It is a serious yet common mental disorder that significantly reduces the quality of life. About 4.1% of people in the United States currently meet the criteria for clinical depression. How does a casual drink as coffee then help with such a disorder?
Once again, Caffeine, the main component of coffee, provides a kick of energy and improves mood. It has a protective effect against depression and effectively reduces the risk of depression to some extent. Other coffee components beneficial to mental health include Chlorogenic acid, Ferulic acid, and Caffeic acid. These acids can help reduce the inflammation of particular nerve cells that occur in the brains of people with depression.
This is particularly true for women; in a Harvard study published in 2011, women with regular and high intake of Coffee (about four or more cups per day) had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. Another study found people who drank about four or more cups of coffee per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide.
Benefits of Coffee for Skin
While coffee has gained its reputation as a favorite beverage and energy booster, you must remember it is also the most prevalent antioxidant source in the United States. It is true that a cup of coffee provides enough antioxidants into your system, but your skin can also reap these benefits when applied directly to the skin. Thanks to its many antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and other pollutants that can lead to skin damage.
The Chlorogenic acid in coffee help reduces inflammation. It also contains antibacterial properties that can be of benefit to acne-prone skin. The caffeine content in coffee may also help treat stubborn dark circles and reduce cellulite’s appearance on the skin. It achieves this by dilating blood vessels beneath the skin and improving overall blood flow under the skin and eyes. Lastly, the antioxidants in coffee help produce a calming effect, making coffee grounds an excellent treatment for sunburns, fine lines, and skin redness. Coffee is an ingredient to include in your skincare to up your skin game. You can incorporate coffee into your skincare routine by making a face mask of coffee grounds mixed with your favorite body oil.
Benefits of Coffee for weight loss
Yes, we know what you are thinking. Does coffee do all things? Well, almost all. Research has shown that regular intake of coffee is associated with weight loss, decreased body mass index (BMI), and fat burning. Coffee achieves this by suppressing your appetite, which helps to lower your daily calorie intake.
Drinking coffee shortly before a meal may significantly decrease how much you eat at the time. This is especially true for caffeinated Coffee, which may increase the number of calories and amount of fat you burn, making it easier to lose weight. Increasing your coffee intake can decrease your weight and body mass by 17-28%
How to Drink Coffee to achieve weight loss
Coffee is effective for weight loss. However, this can only work when taken shortly before a meal. Taking Coffee 3–4.5 hours before eating might have little to no effect on how much you eat at the next meal. To achieve weight loss, take Coffee first thing in the morning to increase your metabolism and burn more fat throughout the day. Note that if you take Coffee wrongly, it can lead to unhealthy weight gain. For example, many popular coffee beverages are already loaded with sugar and calories, which then becomes counterproductive. You must also not have more than four cups per day or in the near hours to bedtime. When including Coffee in your weight loss program, ensure you do not add cream or sugar.
Coffee and Athletic/Physical Performance
As you must have noticed, we cannot get enough of Caffeine. Caffeine increases physical performance by activating areas of the brain and nervous system to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue. Caffeine also works on your flight hormones (adrenaline) which result in increased physical performance. Caffeine in Coffee also benefits exercise performance as it improves endurance and muscle strength. It is no wonder why Caffeine is a popular go-to performance enhancer for athletes.
Caffeine is such a powerful substance that works on the nervous system, thus affecting the way your body perceives things. When you have Caffeine in your system, your body responds to physical exhaustion or strength differently. For example, just 100mg of Caffeine, equivalent to a coffee cup taken before any physical exercise, is enough to increase endurance and strength. You will find that you can last longer while cycling or running or even at your daily chores before feeling any fatigue. Caffeine in Coffee is also capable of increasing your pain threshold so that you can push your muscles harder without experiencing many aches.
Which Coffee is Good for you?
Many worry about the differences between caffeinated and decaffeinated Coffee. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that drinking decaffeinated Coffee is terrible for a person’s health. However, your choice of caffeinated or decaffeinated Coffee can be based on preferences or specific health benefits. The nutritional value of decaffeinated Coffee is identical to regular Coffee, except for the caffeine content. The process of decaffeinating Coffee is done before the green coffee beans are roasted.
The decaffeinating process makes the coffee taste and smells a little milder than regular Coffee. This can make decaf coffee more appealing to those sensitive to the bitter taste and strong smell of regular Coffee. Some studies have shown that caffeinated and decaffeinated Coffee have similar to the same effect, considering the many other nutrients and antioxidants in Coffee. It is worthy of note that decaffeinated Coffee still has tiny amounts of Caffeine. However, the Caffeine content in regular Coffee makes it an excellent option for weight loss due to its calorie deficit. Those who are sensitive to Caffeine or have a low tolerance for it can go for decaffeinated Coffee.
Coffee has come a long way in becoming the most popular beverage in the world. There was a time this drink was demonized due to side effects and sensitivities. However, scientific research and evidence have shown that the health benefits derived from just a cup of Coffee make it worth the love. So do not forget to drink up on your daily dose of Coffee. It is not just an addiction; it is healthy.