Coffee is perhaps the most popular drink in the world, with a typical adult drinking at least 1 cup every day. Would you believe that in 2012, there were 10,924 Starbucks outlets in the United States alone!!! It is clear that we love our daily dose of caffeine shots.
What makes this even more wonderful is the fact that, there are many health benefits to drinking coffee every day. Coffee is good for the brain, skin and body. Despite coffee being so popular it is surprising that the awareness of these benefits, are not very well known.
Coffee contains a significant amount of caffeine, which is a mental and physical stimulant. Since it is a stimulant, it fights against fatigue, increases energy levels which in turn improves your productivity, concentration, alertness, etc. We all know it is difficult and painful to arrive at work exhausted, yet it is a fact that many people are constantly exhausted when they wake after a night’s sleep. These persons can find that taking coffee in the morning helps them recover quickly.
Coffee helps in weight loss
Yes, coffee can make you lose weight, but it depends greatly on the type of coffee you drink. A cup of black coffee contains only 4 calories. For the same amount of coffee with milk, it may contain 100 to 150 calories, depending on the type of the milk you drink. Otherwise, coffee is very low on calories and has virtually zero fat. For people who want to lose weight, coffee can be a very good alternative compared to juices in the morning, as they contain sugar. Also, coffee is considered a diuretic, which increases the volume of your urine and the frequency thereof. This prevents and eliminates water retention in the body, which can help you lose weight. However note that it is not fat you lose, but water. Finally, the caffeine in coffee has the effect of increasing thermogenesis, which is the number of calories burned while resting. This means that a person drinking 1-5 cups of coffee will burn more calories than a person who does not drink coffee, if they have the same weight, age, sex, level of physical activity, genetic factors, etc.
Migraines no more
It is shown that caffeine reduces migraine pain that millions of people suffer occasionally. I myself have migraines, I was very surprised to know that coffee could reduce my pain from migraines and reduce the frequency and intensity of these. In fact nowadays even in hospitals, some doctors have started prescribing an intravenous drug containing caffeine to provide relieve to patients with migraine. This is because coffee dilates blood vessels that are responsible for the throbbing pain during migraines. Similarly for people suffering from asthma, drinking coffee helps to relax and dilate the bronchial muscles, which has the effect of reducing frequency of asthma attacks.
Coffee is the number one source of antioxidants. While it is very well know that fruits and vegetables are very rich in antioxidants, studies have shown that the human body can absorb much more antioxidants from coffee than any other source.
We always knew in our hearts that the mere smell the coffee can have a de-stressing effect. But now we have solid evidence. Researchers at Seoul National University examined the brains of rats under stress (caused by lack of sleep) and found in the brains of subjects exposed to aromas of coffee, that stress-related proteins reacted . So why not keep a bag of roasted coffee beans on your bedside table every night!
Reduced chances of many diseases
Drinking coffee helps to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, by helping with Parkinson’s disease control their movements. Coffee is also excellent for the liver especially if you drink alcohol. Studies have shown that people who drank at least one cup of coffee a day have 20% lower chances of developing cirrhosis of the liver and cancer.
Coffee is also a natural analgesic, it can help relieve headaches. The tannins in coffee may prevent and even reduce plaque and cavities from forming. Another benefit of coffee is that it reduces the possibility of diabetes by as much as half.
Having said all this there are some disadvantages to drinking coffee as well. Taken one hour before bedtime, coffee lengthens the duration of sleep, but causes disturbed sleep and giving the impression that it was of a lower quality. However, studies also show that with time many people get used it after sometime they are able to sleep without encountering any trouble. This is explained by the ability of the brain to compensate for caffeine by increasing the secretion of hormones for sleep when it goes down.
Caffeine is not really a drug in the sense that it is not a problematic addiction. But it is a drug in the sense that when a regular drinker stops its intake, he faces unpleasant “rebound” effects such as headaches, irritability and drowsiness. But these effects are limited to a few days.
Normal consumption is not more than five to six cups per day (500 mg of caffeine on average). This is the limit that doctors recommend. If your daily consumption of coffee is more than 5 or 6 cups a day, the lining of the stomach may be damaged and cause stomach ulcers and other stomach problems. Beyond 10 cups (1000 mg caffeine), the consumption of the product can cause insomnia, confusion and heart rhythm disorders. Fatal acute poisoning cases were observed after 50 cups! Coffee is also not recommended for pregnant women. Like all things, moderation is key, so please be a responsible coffee drinker. Here’s to your health!