Is Coffee Good For You?
Photo by Nathan Dumlao
By Denise Mckenzie
Whether you drink a cup for that morning jolt, or you fiendishly refill your mug to get your fix, you know very well the stimulating buzz- slight sweat on the brow after the first steaming sip, increased heart rate, alertness, a clearing mind. Suddenly hunger subsides, and you are ready to tackle any task at hand.
Sound familiar? We all can attest to the effects of the cupped lightning so many of us swear we cannot live without. And perhaps we shouldn’t.
What if drinking coffee was beneficial to our health? Can drinking coffee have nutritional value? Could it increase mortality?
The general consensus is in coffee's favor. In recent years, there have been numerous studies to help coffee transition from the “no-no’s” to the healthy foods lists for its positive effects. We are learning that coffee can support a wide variety of issues such as disease prevention, inflammation, weight loss, mood improvement and overall reduced risk of early death.
Here are just a few ways drinking coffee could be beneficial to your health.
Photo by Gerson Cifuentes
Coffee contains many essential nutrients we need for our bodies to operate in tip-top condition. One of them being Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, which is a “jack of all trades” nutrient. It helps you keep higher energy levels and contributes to your overall nerve, heart, blood, and eye health. Vitamin B2 also works as an antioxidant that is known to prevent inflammation. If you are drinking more than a cup a day, you are likely re-upping your daily dose.
Speaking of antioxidants, did you know coffee has more than green tea? Although coffee is not a replacement for whole foods such as berries that contain high amounts of antioxidants, it is an excellent additional resource.
Be sure to diversify your sources, but rest easy knowing your morning cup of joe is contributing to your antioxidant intake.
Photo by Samantha Gades
Those of you looking to burn a few calories, the active stimulants in coffee, namely caffeine, can contribute to increasing your metabolic rate. This increases the number of calories you shred while exercising or even sitting still.
The stimulants also increase alertness and help you focus, which can help to improve athletic performance and cognitive function when used in moderation.
Coffee could also help protect your liver from diseases like cirrhosis. Now, don’t go out and crack that beer just yet. Coffee is not proven to revert adverse lifestyle choices, but it has shown in recent studies that it may be linked to disease prevention up to 44% by drinking two cups a day. It also shows increased prevention when more than two cups are consumed.
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Coffee has been known to lower the risks of several other diseases as well. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Type II Diabetes are just a few of the chronic illnesses affecting many Americans today. Studies have shown that java drinkers
- Are less likely to succumb to Alzheimer’s and dementia by 65%
- Reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s by 60%
- Prevent the onset of Type II Diabetes by 7%
Along with these specific diseases, there have been studies that show the preventative benefits of drinking coffee for certain types of cancer, including liver, prostate, and oral.
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Have you ever noticed you get a little more cheerful after a drinking coffee? As a natural mood booster, coffee is considered to have positive effects on those suffering from mild depression. The wakefulness and motivation associated with caffeine may help counteract the negative side effects of the disease.
On a more general scale, one large study suggests that drinking 4-5 cups a day can reduce your risk of early death by an average of 14% in men and women. If you only have 1-2 per day, you are still reducing your risk by at least 6%.
Not only does coffee make you happier, but it also helps you live longer too!
Photo by BRUNO CERVERA
Coffee is jam-packed with many beneficial things for our bodies. It is so complex we are still trying to figure out exactly how it affects us. What can be said is that the busy beverage can offer numerous health benefits. May it be short-term effects like feeling more energized, or long-term disease prevention, that hot cup of java is likely to improve your overall physical and mental health.
Now, go grab your mug and refill the aromatic brew. And remember, coffee is always best when fresh!
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