Coffee — the beverage so many don’t even feel human without. There are downsides to drinking too much, but did you know that in moderation there are health benefits, as well?
How often have you heard the half-true jokes about how no one should speak to a certain person until they’ve had their morning cup of joe? Coffee is a huge part of our culture. So popular that you’ll often find coffee shops across the street from other coffee shops! Even fast-food restaurants serve the beverage.
Yes, too much caffeine (the addictive chemical found in coffee) can cause health problems. But, you’ll be glad to know that this beverage does have health benefits, as well — you may be a little surprised at what those benefits are. By the end of this post, you just might find yourself running to your local Le-Vel Thrive cafe for a latte.
Coffee improves energy and makes you smart
The benefit of a morning brew that we all know already is that it makes us wake up. The reason for this is that coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant which is absorbed into the bloodstream and then the brain. It blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine and when this happens we release dopamine which makes us feel happy and awake.
In turn, this can make us smarter and improve memory because our brain is able to work much more efficiently.
Be careful though, not all people can tolerate the stimulant effect. So don’t overdo it!
Java can help you burn fat
Did we just hear the sound of thousands of people cheering? Was that you?
Yes, it’s true. Drinking a cup of joe can help you to burn fat, and in turn to lose weight. The way it works is by speeding up our metabolism by up to 11%, which can help us to digest food better and therefore burn fat more efficiently. This is why you’ll often find caffeine in diet pills.
Coffee helps your physical performance
Caffeine comes into play again in the form of our nervous system. In the same way, as caffeine stimulates brain activity, it also stimulates the nervous system. This subsequently sends signals to fat cells to break them down as we exercise. Drinking a small cup of java 15 minutes before you work out can help your body during the workout.
A cup of joe contains some good stuff
Coffee isn’t just caffeine in water, it also contains a lot of micronutrients which can be a huge help to the overall function of our bodies.
One cup contains:
- Magnesium and niacin: Together these nutrients are associated with improved energy and metabolism, heart health, and preventing diabetes.
- Manganese and potassium: Manganese is an essential nutrient involved in many chemical processes in the body, including processing of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to function normally.
- Riboflavin: Also known as vitamin B2, is an essential component of two major coenzymes that play major roles in energy production; cellular function, growth, and development; and metabolism of fats, drugs, and steroids.
- Plantothetic acid: Another B vitamin (B5), this nutrient is among the most important of the B vitamins for the basic processes of life and is associated with energy production and fat metabolism.
Coffee lowers the risk of Type II Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the more severe of the two types and is caused by spikes in blood sugar levels which cannot be controlled by insulin.
The reason for this is unknown at the moment, but coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing diabetes. It could have something to do with sugar being metabolized more quickly, but it is unknown exactly the reason.
Coffee could protect you from Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a disease which is caused by the cells in the brain prematurely deteriorating. It is a condition which affects many people all over the world and is the main cause of dementia in older people. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, however, you can reduce the risk of developing this disease in the first place by drinking coffee. Because coffee stimulates the brain cells, it can also keep them healthy — leading to a lower risk of deterioration.
But Exercise Caution with Coffee
Yes, there are health benefits to drinking your morning latte, but like anything, overdoing it can cancel those benefits out. And, of course, not everyone will react to caffeine in the same way. In fact, caffeine has been known to put me to sleep! Also, many caffeine-containing beverages, including coffee, are acidic which is not so good for people with reflux disorders.
A cup of joe a day could keep the doctor away, but too many cups can put you in the doctor’s office — or emergency room — if you’re not mindful of what you put into your body.
Take Charge of Your Health!
Changing your eating habits can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be if you take a little time to think it out and create a plan.
This Healthy Eating Worksheet will walk you through the process of creating a healthy eating plan. All you need to do is print it out, set aside some time to complete it, and then fill it out. Then you can create your plan, knowing that you have addressed potential obstacles and came up with some creative ways to handle them.