I’ll be the first to tell you that I cannot live without my venti cup of coffee every day. It fuels me. With it…I thrive, and no, I’m not being dramatic (well, okay maybe a little).
For YEARS, the coffee haters have been telling us that our every day cup of magic is actually detrimental to our health. Here are 10 SCIENCE-BACKED reasons why they’re just plain WRONG:
1. Coffee improves your brain function. Taste aside, one of the main reasons people gravitate towards coffee is due to the increased energy and focus it provides. This is due to its caffeine content. Once absorbed by your body, caffeine travels to your brain through the bloodstream and blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine, which in normal conditions, promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. To compensate for the decrease of adenosine, other neurotransmitter levels increase. The increase in norepinephrine and dopamine levels lead to improved memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, and reaction times.
2. Coffee can increase your body’s ability to burn fat. Another neurotransmitter that increases with caffeine consumption is epinephrine, otherwise known as adrenaline, “the fight or flight” hormone. In adrenaline’s effort to increase your body’s reaction times, it stimulates the body to make sugar to use for fuel. To do this, it travels to fat tissues, signaling them to breakdown fats for release into the bloodstream. Of course, once these fats are broken down, you’ll want to burn off this excess energy in order to prevent it from being re-stored as fat when epinephrine levels go down. This brings me to my next point…
3. Coffee actually improves your workouts. With all the excess energy that increased epinephrine provides, the best time to drink coffee is 30 minutes before a workout. Coffee has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12% on average!
4. Coffee lowers your risk of Parkinson’s disease. Before you get too excited, research on coffee’s potential to reduce risk of neurodegenerative diseases is fairly new. However, current research suggests that those who drink coffee regularly may be more protected from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s than those who don’t drink coffee.
5. Coffee contains hella nutrients. It may be low in calories, but coffee is high in nutrients like vitamin B2, vitamin B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin, all of which our bodies need to function properly.
6. Coffee has been proven to decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes. Although it hasn’t yet been determined exactly which constituents of coffee result in beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity, countless studies like this one have determined that there is a definitive link between risk of type 2 diabetes and coffee consumption, with the relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreasing by half for those who consume 3 or more cups of coffee per day as compared to non-coffee drinkers.
7. Coffee is the most antioxidant rich food in the Western Diet. We already know the Western diet isn’t the healthiest diet ever with over 2 of 3 adults in the U.S. being overweight or obese. To make matters worse, it’s also very low in antioxidants. Coffee on the other hand, is quite high in antioxidants and has actually been identified as the number one source of antioxidants in the Western Diet and one of the number one sources of antioxidants in the world.
8. Coffee protects your liver. In a study of over 2,400 participants, investigators found that those who drink more than 3 cups of coffee per day had lower odds of liver scarring despite inherent differences in lifestyle and environment. (Just in case you’re one of those strange people that doesn’t appreciate coffee, the same benefit was found with increased herbal tea consumption).
9. Coffee reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, for every 8 oz cup of coffee you drink per day (up to 6 cups per day), your risk for heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease decreases by 8, 7, and 5 percent respectively.
10. Coffee literally makes you happier. At this point, you guys are probably tired of hearing about neurotransmitters, but dopamine is one I haven’t talked much about and it is the reason that you feel so happy after drinking your daily cup of coffee! In fact, coffee has been considered a psychoactive drug for the feelings of euphoria it produces. Lucky for us, it’s not considered a drug of abuse and does not come with the harmful effects of other psychostimulants like cocaine and amphetamine.
So if you’re an avid coffee drinker, drink on! And tell those coffee haters to go away!
***Note that all of these benefits are based on moderate coffee consumption (anywhere from .4 to 4 cups or 37.5-450 mg caffeine per day). Extreme coffee consumption may cause negative side effects such as dehydration, anxiety, headache and difficulty sleeping. Please consult with your doctor prior to making changes to your diet.
P.S. I would love to hear about how your journey is going! Keep me updated in the comments below!