Coffee can sometimes get a bad wrap. Drinking too much can be problematic, however, too much of anything is bad for us. That's why it's deemed "too much". Coffee, without the addition of dairy and sugar, actually has some pretty good health claims behind it that are backed by research. Check out these 6 things coffee does to make you live a healthier life!
1. Coffee boosts brain power!
Caffeine (in moderation) can actually be quite useful when used correctly. It can enhance brain function and improve memory! We all know caffeine is a stimulant, so I'm sure the energy boost is no surprise. Depending on how quickly your body can metabolize caffeine, some people may notice caffeine has a stronger affect on them than others.
Caffeine acts as an antagonist to the neurotransmitter Adenosine. Adenosine is known for promoting sleep and surprising arousal. Caffeine blocks this action, causing you the be alert and focused and has been shown to improve memory, cognitive function and reaction times!
2. Coffee can help you burn fat!
Caffeine is the reason behind this one as well. Studies have shown that consuming the appropriate dose of caffeine before exercise can actually shift the body to metabolize fat as a preference over carbohydrates. This can sometimes get a bit blown out of proportion in some weight loss supplements, so watch out for this little fact! It seems to be very dose dependant and unique to the individual, and it also tends to work best after the 90 minutes of exercise mark!
3. Coffee can improve your athletic performance!
Another point for caffeine! That shift in metabolism that helps you burn more fat will also increase performance in endurance type sports or events. Again, it is important to remember that the majority of this effect comes into play only after the 90 minute point.
It can also help in the short term and is often a popular choice in pre-workout weight lifting supplements. Short term, caffeine can reduce the perception of pain and make it a little bit easier to push yourself just a little more, which can make all the difference in close competition.
4. Coffee can protect the liver!
Now it is true that caffeine is broken down and processed by the liver, so you'll often find coffee on the avoidance list when approaching things like a detoxification program. The liver is an incredible organ with many responsibilities, so for the purpose of detoxification, avoiding caffeine takes away one more job so the liver can work on detoxifying the rest of the body. So detoxification protocols aside, coffee has actually been shown to be very protective of the liver. In fact, people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day (avoiding the sugars and dairy) have up to an 80% decreased risk for developing cirrhosis!
5. Coffee can make you more happy!
Aside from that smile that creeps across your face and the joy in your soul that occurs when you smell a fresh cup of coffee, there are studies that show a correlation between lower rates of depression in people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee per day. That 4 cup a day mark seems to be the magic number here.
6. Coffee is rich in antioxidants!
This may come as a surprise to some of you, it definitely did to me, but coffee is actually a pretty great source of antioxidants. In fact, for most people who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD), coffee is likely the greatest contributor of antioxidants, trumping both fruits and vegetables. Coffee is definitely a rich source of these ever so important antioxidants, but the fact that a Standard American Diet is so deficient in other sources is concerning as well. That aside, coffee can most definitely be a healthy way to start your day!
There we have it, coffee is pretty great. As long as you are skipping out on the massive amounts of sugar and dairy, you can reap in all the rewards that coffee has to offer. Not all coffee is created equal though so try your best to be drinking more locally roasted beans so freshness is preserved and mold is kept to a minimum. Some beans I personally love can be found on my "Guide to Supercharging your Day" post, as well as some tips to make your coffee work even harder for you first thing in the morning. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Dr. Rob Raponi ND, CISSN, B.Kine(Hons)