How Drinking Coffee is Saving Your Life
Did you know that coffee isn’t just delicious, it’s also actively working to prevent disease, increase your likelihood of staying safe on the roads and improving your lifespan?
According to the British Coffee Association, around 2 billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every day. 2 billion! In the UK alone the numbers of cups consumed per day is estimated to be around 70 million.
So clearly, we’re big coffee drinkers. But is coffee good for us? Is it just a useful pick-me-up or is there something more beneficial to it?
With around 70% of British adult coffee drinkers consuming instant coffee and around 48% drinking filtered coffee, shouldn’t we know about the health differences in these two methods?
Is Fresh Coffee better for us than Instant Coffee?
We coffee lovers know that filtered coffee tastes considerably yummier than instant, but are we benefiting in other ways?
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We’re drinking so much coffee these days and giving so much money to the coffee industry players that if you ask me, it’s essential we know more about the health implications, and benefits, of coffee. Because when you really look into it…is coffee more than a delicious beverage?
Could your daily coffee actually be saving your life?
Five Quick Facts About Coffee Health Benefits:
- Coffee is actually hydrating, not dehydrating, as many people believe. Coffee is actually no more of a diuretic than water!
- Drinking coffee around 30 minutes before exercise increases performance, sometimes considerably.
- Moderate coffee consumption is actually associated with a lower risk of type-2 diabetes, and those who already have type-2 diabetes can also enjoy it safely.
- Moderate coffee consumption (4 to 5 cups a day) is not associated with heart problems or disease and isn’t shown to raise cholesterol or blood pressure.
- Research has shown that coffee consumption could actually lower your risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In fact, a study has shown a significant decrease in the risk of developing these terrible diseases.
Coffee and the Body
It’s not just busting coffee myths like dehydration and heart health though, coffee actually has positive effects on almost every part of the body. The coffee industry is huge and as a result, lots of money is put into medical and scientific research of the health implications and benefits of coffee.
This is great news for us!
Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of coffee on different parts of the body, in no particular order:
Liver disease is a serious problem in the west and affects around 6% of the EU population. However, recent research has shown that drinking coffee can actually slow the progression of liver diseases such as cirrhosis, fatty liver diseases and hepatitis B and C.
A lot of research relating to coffee consumption and heart disease has been done in the last few decades and so far studies show that moderate coffee drinking does not raise the risk of heart disease. Cutting out coffee consumption is not shown to lessen the risk of heart disease and instead, dietary recommendations such as lowering sodium intake and increasing exercise are far more highly recommended.
Coffee is excellent for raising alertness and is actually recommended to drivers suffering from fatigue. Coffee improves the performance and concentration not only of drivers, but also of night shift workers (without compromising their ability to sleep later on), athletes and even those recovering from the common cold.
While there were suspicions for a while that caffeine intake could increase the loss of bone density and lead to osteoporosis, recent research has actually shown this to be unfounded. In fact, as many British people consume milk with their coffee, a healthy coffee habit could improve the intake of calcium, which is crucial for strong and healthy bones.
The intestines, or gut, are one of the most complex parts of the body and new research is coming out all the time. Coffee consumption is not related to gastrointestinal conditions however and even those suffering with gut problems such as IBS or Crohn’s Disease can drink coffee moderately without any issues.
Many people believe that pregnant women must avoid caffeine but actually this isn’t true. While it’s definitely advised that they should limit their caffeine intake, it’s agreed by the Royal College of Midwives and the Food Standards Agency that pregnant women should just restrict their caffeine to 200mg or less.
This means pregnant women can safely drink one or two cups of coffee a day. A standard instant coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine and a filter coffee has around 140mg.
Coffee and Weight Loss
It’s not just general health that’s improved when you consume a moderate amount of coffee per day. While coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of many diseases and even help protect against some, it can also aid in weight loss.
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Studies have shown that caffeine can increase the metabolic rate, thus improving fat burn and weight loss.
Good news eh?
This, combined with the performance increase you get in the hour or two after consuming a cup of coffee, means that exercise and weight loss are even further improved.
Caffeine consumption allows fatty tissue to be broken down more easily as it increases adrenaline, which causes these tissues to be broken down faster for fuel.
This is why having a coffee before exercise improves your ability to burn fat and use that fuel. This effect is lessened in the long term though, as your body adjusts to the caffeine level.
If you really want to make the most of caffeine as a weight loss aid, perhaps try limiting your caffeinated coffee consumption to just before exercise and drink other drinks when not exercising.
How much is a moderate amount of coffee?
The health benefits of coffee are numerous. Not only does it aid performance, concentration and protect against disease, it also contains many vital minerals and vitamins.
But this is all based on a moderate amount. As with anything, excess can cause problems.
What’s a moderate amount of coffee?
It’s generally agreed that 400mg* of caffeine is a healthy and moderate amount per day. That amounts to around 4 to 5 cups of coffee, depending on the type of coffee you drink.
Remember though that other drinks also contain caffeine, such as tea and cola. If you drink a range of caffeinated drinks throughout the day, take them all into account when totalling your caffeine intake.
*Pregnant women are advised to limit their caffeine intake to 200mg or less.
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