For many of us, myself included, our mornings aren’t complete without our daily dose of coffee. That strong and rich aroma, that steaming hot cup, that dark brown color… Coffee just immediately perks you up and jump-starts your day.
However, did you know coffee is not just a feel-good drink? That’s right. It’s not only a great partner to breads and pastries, but it also provides the body with plenty of benefits, from head to toe.
Coffee is a very popular brewed drink from roasted coffee beans. The beans are from the seeds of a fruit called the coffea plant. The plant is native to tropical Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar, and Comoros. The two most commonly grown types are arabica and robusta.
This is based on plain black coffee. That means this is purely from the liquid taken from the beans. No sugar, cream, milk, or any other factors are added.
It has a number of micronutrients, like magnesium, manganese, potassium, niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. It has a very small amount of sodium.Coffee also contains no sugar or carbohydrates and virtually no calories.
And finally, it is a very good source of antioxidants.
Benefits for the Body
Promotes Heart Health
Unfiltered coffee is a great source of cafestol and kahweol antioxidants. These help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Daily coffee consumption also prevents inflammation in blood vessels. This lowers the risk of getting heart disease and a less likely chance of cardiovascular-related deaths.
Also, this drink lowers the risk of heart failure and stroke. In addition, it reduces the risk of heart arrhythmia too.
Boosts Brain Function
Studies show that this drink improves a multitude of brain functions. This includes mood, memory, vigilance, focus, concentration, reaction times, and general cognitive function.
If you need a short-term mental boost like when you’re flagging at work, for example—treat yourself to a cup of joe. This is great if you’re going after a deadline.
Studies also show that it enhances memory for up to twenty-four hours after consumption. Coffee also protects against Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and also Alzheimer’s disease.
The caffeine content reduces Abeta production. This peptide contributes to the development of plaque in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient.
Keeps You Happy
The antioxidants in coffee give drinkers a natural feeling of euphoria or caffeine high. According to a study by the National Institute of Health, those who drink 4 or more cups of joe in a day were around 10 percent less likely to be depressed than those who don’t drink it.
Another study by the Harvard School of Public Health concludes that drinking 2 to 4 cups reduces the risk of suicide in both men and women by around 50 percent.
So chug down many a healthy cup to make you happier and keep the bad vibes at bay.
Increases Energy Levels
Coffee makes people less tired and also increases the body’s energy levels. This is because it possesses caffeine, a psychoactive substance. This increases the production of norepinephrine and dopamine. These are neurotransmitters that enhance neurons.
A Spanish study shows that athletes burn more calories after exercising. Drinking coffee before hitting the gym also reduces perceived muscle pain. It is also a much better choice as compared to energy drinks, soda, and sweetened juices or teas.
The slight increase in blood sugar levels from caffeinated coffee is great for athletes as this fuels their muscles before doing any physical activity.
In fact, many endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts take some coffee before hitting the gym or competing. It’s known to be a performance enhancer and contributes to higher concentration and stamina.
Aids in Diabetes
Some research shows that a cup of joe has a positive effect and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. It decreases the body’s insulin sensitivity and impairs glucose tolerance.
The chlorogenic acid content also reduces the absorption of glucose from sugary or high-carbohydrate food. This slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream. In addition, it also prevents insulin resistance.
One study shows that diabetics who drank coffee have a 30 percent lower risk of death. Another research by Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard shows that the risk of type 2 diabetes decreases by 9 percent for each cup consumed per day.
Helps in Weight Loss
Caffeine stimulates minimal calorie burning, which increases fat burning in the body by as much as 10 percent. It also boosts the metabolic rate by 3-11 percent. Its magnesium and potassium content also aids in reducing your craving for sweet treats and snacks. And finally, it temporarily suppresses your appetite too.
Protects the Liver
Some studies show that regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of abnormal liver function tests. This drink also protects against alcoholic liver disease. Once study displays a 20 percent reduction in alcoholic liver syndrome for every cup of coffee consumed in a day.
This brew also lowers the liver enzyme levels and protects against cirrhosis of the liver. This is a disease due to taking in excessive amounts of alcohol and leads to liver failure. Coffee also reduces the risk of developing liver cancer.
Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis in adult males. It is initially caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. This then results in deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints and other surrounding areas. This leads to swelling and intense pain.
The consumption of coffee lowers uric acid levels and reduces the overall risk of gout. The more one drinks coffee, the lower the levels of uric acid.
Protects against Melanoma
A published study from the journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that this brew decreases the risk of getting melanoma. The risk decreases even more with each cup consumed. Melanoma is a deadly type of skin cancer. The chlorogenic acid in coffee beats down COX-2. This enzyme is a result to the exposure of UV rays. In order to protect your skin, go ahead and down that cup.
Fights against Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. This involves the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. It causes problems with balance, vision, muscle control, and other basic body functions. It also causes numbness and fatigue. This disease can hit just about anyone between the ages of 20 and 40.
Coffee prevents the neural inflammation that leads to the development of MS. It also makes sure MS does not recur in MS patients.
One Last Note
Remember that in order to enjoy all these benefits, you should be taking in coffee as it is. That means no added sugar, cream, milk, creamers, or any other flavorings. (Sorry, Starbucks.)
USDA recommends a healthy 3 to 5 cups of joe a day for overall optimum health.