Benefits of Coffee Based on Science
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and recent studies have shown that apart from boosting our concentration and memory as we all knew, it may also help prevent diseases like stroke and certain cancers, and lower our risk of Parkinson’s and dementia.
Coffee beans are seeds, and as such are packed with useful nutrients that make their way into the finished brewed coffee.
A cup of coffee contains vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Magnesium and Niacin), vitamin B5 (Panthotenic acid), Manganese, and Potassium. Although they only make between 2-11% of the reference daily intake of these substances, for someone that enjoys several cups per day, they can add up quickly.
Coffee is also quite high in antioxidants. Studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined.
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Coffee’s benefits for the human body are multiple, and we can list a few below:
1. Coffee can improve energy levels and brain functions
This is due to the caffeine, contained in the coffee beans, which is a stimulant. In fact, caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world according to a study.
The caffeine works by blocking the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine in your brain, which determines an increase of the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine, leading to enhanced activity of neurons. This may lead to improved memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function.
2. Coffee can improve physical performance
Caffeine increases epinephrine (adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone) levels in your blood, which prepares your body for intense physical exertion. As caffeine breaks down body fat (see point 2), free fatty acids are made available as fuel.
On average, caffeine can improve physical performance by 11–12%.
3. Coffee may help fight against several diseases
With its natural benefits, coffee can prevent or determine improvement in the following ailments:
- Type 2 diabetes: studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. They observed that people who drink the most coffee have a 23–50% lower risk of getting this disease. According to a large review of 18 studies in a total of more than 450,000 people, each daily cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: several studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Parkinson: it is caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in your brain. By the effect described at point 1, coffee might counter the effects of this disease.
- Liver diseases: many liver conditions can lead to cirrhosis, in which the liver is largely replaced by scar tissue. It has been noticed that coffee may protect against cirrhosis — people who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower risk.
- Liver and colorectal cancer: studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer, and one study in almost 500,000 people found that those who drank 4–5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
4. Coffee can help you burn fat
Caffeine is one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning. This is the reason why you find caffeine in almost all fat-burning supplements.
Several studies show that caffeine can increase your metabolic rate by 3–11%, determining an increase of fat burning by as much as 29% in lean people and 10% in obese individuals.
Although there are many benefits from drinking coffee, we must remember that everything must be done in moderation. Too much of this good thing may lead to increased anxiety and disruption of sleep patterns, it may interact with some medications, it can also slightly raise blood pressure, it can upset your stomach. If you have problems with acid reflux or heartburn, then coffee and even tea might not be right for you.
Coffee is healthy and definitely a good way to start your day. Just make sure not to overdo it and choose a beverage that contains less than 80 milligrams of caffeine per cup, to be sure that you stay on the healthy side of your coffee.