I must admit, one of the greatest pleasures I derive during the day is when I first wake up in the morning and smell the beautiful aroma of freshly brewed coffee being made up by my lovely wife. Yes folks, I love coffee and frankly, probably drink too much but despite the negative press surrounding coffee, it actually has a lot of health benefits too which we’ll take a look at in brief now.
Most of us are aware that coffee can kick start your energy levels thanks to the caffeine which once drank, enters the blood stream and gets to the brain. It then promotes the release of our flight or fight hormone, norepinephrine and epinephrine as well as dopamine. The net result is an increased level of alertness and even energy and stimulating the central nervous system preparing the body for physical and mental exertion, so all good if you want to stay awake, alert and even have a good workout right? but what about the other benefits?
Coffee is also quite high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to fight against nasty free radicals in the body that are released at times of stress. These free radicals attach themselves onto cells of the body often damaging or even killing those cells which can lead to many side effects including disease, premature aging or even cancer. Antioxidants are mainly found in fruit and vegetables but coffee counts towards the most popular source of antioxidants in the western diet due to its high consumption.
Research has also shown that coffee can ward off disease and illness including lowering the risk of liver cancer, stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer, Dementia as well as other diseases! Wow!
Caffeine is also a very common component of fat burners available over the counter so it goes without saying that coffee too can help you burn fat (providing you don’t take yours with extra cream and three teaspoons of sugar!), how it works is that he caffeine in the coffee has a thermogenic (heat making) effect by raising your metabolism slightly. Caffeine has also been shown to be a good appetite suppressant and studies have been made to show that coffee and caffeine have had upto a 30% effect in helping people lose weight. It also helps the break down of fat cells releasing them into the blood as free fatty acids and making them available as fuel
I’ve already mentioned that coffee releases the hormone dopamine but did you know that dopamine was one of your feel good hormones? In fact, In a study made by the Harvard University published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed – That’s impressive!
Coffee also contains nutrients including Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Potassium, Magnesium, Niacin and Manganese… all good for you!
Of course, caffeine doesn’t come without it’s negative traits either. Too much coffee can be detrimental to your health and caffeine is a known diuretic so can dehydrate you as well as inhibiting mineral absorption such as iron absoprtion. It is also fairly addictive and its effects on alertness in the brain can cause sleep deprivation and even anxiety. It’s also very acidic too so if you are prone to issues such as IBS or ulcers, too much coffee may be bad for you. That being said, personally, the health benefits and frankly, taste of coffee outweigh the negative sides for me and I will carry on enjoying my cups of coffee and recommend that you enjoy yours too, just don’t over do it!