What You Need to Know About Coffee

coffee beans

 

When you think about it, coffee is as much a part of our daily routines as brushing our teeth or eating lunch. Americans drink more than 60 billion cups of coffee every year, which works out to an average of 2.5 cups per person per day. Once upon a time, people only drank coffee during the morning, but the world has become an entirely more caffeinated place. The International Coffee Organization estimates that 62% of the world’s coffee is now consumed after 3 p.m.

If you’re a coffee fan but you’re still feeling a little uneasy about your caffeine intake, rest assured: There are a lot of good reasons to start drinking coffee every day. In this article, we’ll discuss the many benefits of coffee, explain when it’s healthier to drink coffee than to drink tea, and explore some common misconceptions about coffee.

 

What Is the Health Benefit of Coffee?

Coffee has been consumed for thousands of years, both as a drink and as a source of energy. Traditional Ethiopian tribes drank coffee grounds fresh from the bean as an appetite stimulant, while the tribes of Brazil used it as a source of caffeine- and potassium-rich fertilizer and the Dayaks of Borneo used it to treat altitude sickness.

Coffee is now widely seen as a healthy beverage thanks to its high levels of antioxidants, which can protect your body against the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are unstable and thus they end up damaging your cells; antioxidants on the other hand are molecules that prevent these cells from being damaged. There also exists evidence that coffee can reduce inflammation and protect you against chronic diseases.

Coffee is also a great source of magnesium, which can help you relax and fall asleep. Magnesium deficiency is common in the United States, and this mineral can help you prevent anxiety and depression.

However, coffee has also been linked to some health risks. Drinking too much coffee will raise your blood pressure, and some studies have found that it might increase your risk of heart disease.

Caffeine is a stimulant, so it can also make you feel jittery and result in insomnia if you drink too much of it.

Coffee is also not recommended for pregnant women, as it might increase the risk of miscarriage.

Better Performance

Numerous studies are being done on the relationship between coffee and better performance. One study found that caffeine increased endurance by increasing muscle power without affecting recovery time between sets; another found that it helped people perform better by increasing alertness and focus.

One study found that drinking coffee before a workout can help you burn more calories.

However, caffeine can also have some negative effects. It is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more and therefore lose water, and it might also increase anxiety.

One meta-analysis found that drinking around two cups of coffee per day was associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, while another study found that people who drink at least two cups of coffee each day are 18% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who drink no coffee at all.

Weight Loss

Coffee contains caffeine, which can make you jittery and increase your heart rate. When you’re stressed, this increases the flow of blood to your stomach, which could result in weight loss or increased metabolism. However, most studies analyzing the effects of caffeine on weight loss are short-term and sponsored by coffee companies.

One study from 2015 found that people who drank four cups of coffee each day lost more weight than those who didn’t drink any coffee. Another study from the same year found that people who drank four cups of coffee per day had a reduction in their waist circumference, while another study published in 2016 found that the people who were given caffeine supplements lost more weight than those who weren’t.

However, it’s important to note that all of these studies are short-term. It’s hard to say whether these effects are long-lasting, and they might also be due to other compounds in coffee rather than caffeine itself.

Prevent or Treat Alzheimer’s

There is promising early research into the use of coffee as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. In a test tube, coffee prevented the formation of the harmful amyloid plaques that are characteristic of the disease.

However, experts recommend maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle instead of turning to caffeine as a replacement for healthy eating and regular exercise.

Good For Your Heart

Coffee has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in many studies, and in some, it has even been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart function.

One study found that drinking three to five cups of coffee daily was associated with a reduced incidence of heart disease, while another found that wine was better for your heart than coffee.

While coffee may be good for your heart, it’s best to think of it as part of a healthy diet, not a replacement for it.

A review of 18 studies on the relationship between coffee consumption and cancer found that drinking two cups of caffeinated coffee each day was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer by 40%, and another analysis found that drinking three to five cups per day was associated with a reduced risk of liver and endometrial cancer.

Decaf Coffee Is Just as Good as Regular Coffee

If you’re worried about the calories in coffee, you should know that decaf is just as rich in caffeine as regular coffee.

Coffee beans are the seeds of berries from which the caffeine has been naturally removed. The reason decaf beans were once considered inferior was that they contained too few antioxidants; therefore, people used to believe that decaf was bad for you.

Here’s the thing: with stricter regulations on pesticides and herbicides, decaf beans are often grown in the same environments as regular beans. This means they have just as many antioxidants. Some studies have found that decaf coffee may have slightly higher antioxidant levels than regular coffee.

So if you’re trying to cut out caffeine, we don’t think it makes sense to avoid decaf altogether.

Other Health Benefits

Coffee is also rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and calcium. It’s best to get your caffeine buzz from an antioxidant-rich and low-fat drink such as coffee rather than high-fat sugar-loaded snacks.

Cancer Prevention

A review of 18 studies on the relationship between coffee consumption and cancer found that drinking two cups of caffeinated coffee each day was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer by 40%, and another analysis found that drinking three to five cups per day was associated with a reduced risk of liver and endometrial cancer.

Should I Drink Coffee or Tea?

According to the American Heart Association, caffeine in both coffee and tea is harmless, and both beverages can provide health benefits.

The main difference between the two beverages is the amount of caffeine in each. While coffee contains about 80% caffeine by weight, tea contains about 50%.

The Top 5 Caffeine Levels in Coffee

Drinking coffee regularly can boost your energy and alertness during the day, but it’s important to understand how much caffeine is in the coffee you drink.

Here are the five most caffeinated coffees you should probably stay away from:

  1. Starbucks VIA (Very Important Altitude): This coffee is grown at an altitude of over 3000 feet and has over five times the amount of caffeine as a regular coffee.
  2. Kona: This is another highly caffeinated coffee, with over six times the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee.
  3. Robusta: This coffee is used to make espresso and is packed with over seven times the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee.
  4. Yirgacheffe: This coffee is grown at an altitude of over 9000 feet and has over ten times the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee.
  5. God Delusion: This coffee is grown at an altitude of over 15,000 feet and has over twenty times the caffeine of a regular cup of coffee.

How to Choose the Healthiest Coffee

When you’re in the grocery store picking out your next cup of coffee, there are a few factors to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the most health benefits from your java.

Look for coffees that use the words Robusta and arabica in their labeling. These are the main varieties of coffee grown around the world, and they have the lowest levels of caffeine.

While you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the total amount of sugar in each brand. Sugary drinks often have high levels of calories and sugar, and they don’t have the same health benefits as a cup of coffee.

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The Bottom Line

Drinking coffee regularly can have several benefits, both for your body and your mind. Coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine that will boost energy levels, protect the body from free radicals, and improve focus and alertness.

However, it’s important to understand how much caffeine is in the coffee you drink and to stay away from drinks high in sugar and calories.

If you’re still unsure whether you should drink coffee, try swapping out another beverage for three days and see if you notice a difference. You might be surprised at how much you like it.

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