Coffee as a Health Drink?
A lot of people think of coffee as a booster – nothing more than a cup of energy and alertness to rev up their mornings (or afternoons). However, there is more to Java than caffeine. Coffee is a wonderfully complex drink that can bring you a lot of health benefits… IF you prepare it right – that means if you don’t bomb it with sugar and cream (Starbucks, I am looking at you).
Contrary to what health experts from the past believe, coffee is not really damaging to your health. According to recent studies, that cup of Joe can bring you the following benefits when taken moderately:It aids the liver
Various studies, some even from decades ago, show that coffee-drinkers have healthier livers. More recently, the Mayo clinic reported that regular coffee-drinkers have a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)which leads to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, or even cancer. Interestingly, this effect cannot be seen in drinkers of other caffeinated beverages such as tea.
Coffee helps fight the blues
Based on the joint study of the National Institute of Health and the AARP, people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day were 10% less likely to get depressed than the non-coffee drinkers. Is it the caffeine? Apparently not; tests on other caffeinated drinks such as cola have shown the exact opposite – a higher risk of depression. What is it then? Prevention reports that this might be due to coffee’s high anti-oxidant content.
…but not when you drink too much
In lieu with this, the Harvard School of Public Health unearthed a surprising statistic during one of their wide-range studies (about 100,000 individuals participated): Men and women who downed up to four cups of coffee have a 50% reduced risk of suicide. This time, it is the caffeine that is responsible; caffeine is known as a mood enhancer.
Here’s the real whopper though: In a separate Finnish study, folks who drank 8 to 9 cups a day were at a higher risk of suicide than those who drank moderately.
Coffee can help you shed a few pounds
Weight loss by coffee can be explained in three ways: First, coffee can act as an appetite suppressant. Second, the consumption of caffeine leads to water loss thus weight loss. Last, it generates thermogenesis or calorie-burning caused by food digestion. However, all three are not permanent. That being said, your daily dose of coffee can help you slim down but do not see it as the solution.
Coffee can improve your athletic performance
In an NY Times article, it has been reported that caffeine can increase the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream, improving stamina and endurance. And unlike steroids which are prohibited in competitions, caffeine is perfectly legal.
Coffee protects the brain
Coffee drinkers have up to 60% lower risk of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Though it is not clear as to why, according to researcher, Chuanhai Cao, this might because caffeine inhibits the product of beta-amyloid, a protein commonly found in the brain but is poorly metabolized in as one ages.
Coffee boosts brain power
Caffeine blocks neurotransmitters in the brain that are associated with sleep.This is precisely why it helps you perform despite not getting enough rest. Military research psychologist, Harry Lieberman explains that most of the complex functions linked to intelligence are boosted when caffeine is ingested. No wonder this is the favorite drink of the shut-eye deprived.
It can keep skin cancer at bay
Based on the study involving more than 100,000 women, conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, women who downed up to three cups of coffee per day have a decreased percentage of developing basal cell carcinoma – the most common type of skin cancer.
In a nutshell, coffee’s caffeine and high anti-oxidant content can do wonders for the body and improve both physical and mental performance, provided that it is taken in the correct amounts. Who knew that a health drink could taste so good?