This week I am going to be talking a little bit about a beverage that you are likely already familiar with. This beverage is unsurprisingly coffee. Below I will get into the debate over whether or not coffee should be included in a healthy diet. So, if this a matter of interest to you, be sure to check out the post below and let me know if you have any questions or comments!
Coffee: What does your brew do to you?
Is coffee good for you? The answer to this question is not a simple one. Arguably one of the most consumed beverage in the world, coffee consumption is an integral part of many Americans' daily routines. I'm betting a good percentage of people reading this post are already regular consumers. (I for one, enjoy at least two cups a day!) So, lets explore some of the reasons why you should either continue to enjoy that morning vice, or, if you are not a current coffee drinker, maybe after reading this, you will reconsider.
Health benefits of drinking coffee: As you may or may not know, coffee has some real medical benefits that are associated with its consumption. The most obvious benefit and most understood application for coffee use is the alertness that it helps to stimulate due to its caffeine content. Being more alert at certain points during the day definitely has its advantages. This alertness is due to is an underlying biological effect occurring here that many people are not aware of. Caffeine can also help to stimulate fat loss. One study looked at subjects after giving them 100mg of caffeine and found that their metabolic rates increased by 3-4 percent compared to baseline. Not only is this significant from a fat loss standpoint, but it also accounts for the increase in energy and alertness. Caffeine has also been shown to improve physical performance in exercise by as much as 12 percent.
There are also some lesser known and less understood benefits that coffee brings to the table. Coffee consumption has been shown to reduce the chances that someone will contract type II diabetes by as much as 50 to 67 percent over the course of their lifetime. According to a large review that looked at data from 18 different studies with a total of 457,922 individuals, each daily cup of coffee that a person drank was associated with a 7 percent reduced risk of developing type II diabetes. This is probably related less so to the caffeine content and more so with Chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is a compound that is unique to coffee that is responsible for many of coffee's health benefits. Some other health benefits that come from coffee consumption include possible reduced chances of developing Parkinsons disease, reduced chances of Alzheimers and dementia, improved liver health and increased antioxidant availability and utilization within the body (see references below).
Reasons to not drink coffee: There are several reasons why drinking coffee may not be the best choice for you. If you can't stand the taste and feel the need to load your coffee up with sugar and other additives, then the cons probably outweigh the pros. Sugar would negate any of the anti-diabetes benefits that you would get, and would probably lead to an energy crash later as well. However, I am not saying you should drink your coffee black. There are many natural sweeteners, such as stevia that don't cause the same problems that sugar does. Also, almond milk, coconut milk and many other healthy additions, can make coffee taste good and healthy at the same time! Another thing to watch out for is the increase in blood pressure that can occur with coffee/caffeine consumption. Although this is usually minor, it is still something to keep an eye on. If you suffer from high blood pressure, be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any large amounts of any caffeinated foods or beverages to your diet.
So, there you have it - some more reasons to enjoy your morning cup of coffee! Just be sure to not add in some of the other no-so-healthy things, like sugar. For most people, coffee is a good part of a balanced diet (when consumed in moderation). Most of the benefits I described earlier occur when drinking 1 to 4 cups a day, so do your best to stay in that range!
Diabetes Risk Reduction
Alzheimers and Dementia Risk Reduction
Parkinsons Risk Reduction