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Are There Benefits To Drinking Coffee? There Are - More Than You May Think!

benefits to drinking coffee There have been many studies lately of the effects of coffee on the human body. Everything, from weight loss to fitness to mood and more, has been explored to discern exactly what coffee does affect. Here are a few things we have seen reported from these studies.   Remember: every body is different. Coffee may affect me differently from the way it affects you. Please take this into consideration as you read this information. And always listen to your healthcare provider.  

Coffee and Fitness

Over at mindbodygreen, an author shares what she learned from two staff doctors regarding coffee and her workout routine.   It turns out that having a cup of coffee before your workout may help by giving you a boost of energy and can help your brain to focus. It may also help burn more calories by increasing lipolysis (the breakdown of lipids in the body).   Back to the “every body is different” — coffee does you no favors if you experience stomach issues. It also doesn’t help if your body is slow to metabolize caffeine. Be sure to monitor your heart rate and your blood pressure.   What kind of coffee should you drink before your workout? Stay away from those sugary concoctions from the café. Opt for organic and make it black with no more than a dash of sugar. Prefer decaf? That’s fine, too. Look for Swiss water decaf which doesn’t use chemicals to decaffeinate.  

Longer Life

Could coffee help you live longer? A report by CBS News seems to suggest this. Pointing to previous research that shows a link to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, several cancer types, diabetes, and even heart disease, they also include studies showing an increase in life expectancy.   They are careful to say these studies only show an association to longer life, and include stats such as “one cup of coffee a day was associated with a 12% decrease in risk of death,” with the percentage rising to 18% with an increase to two or three cups.   Rejoice decaf coffee drinkers, these results were not tied to the caffeine content. Research suggested this increase comes from the coffee itself, not the caffeine.   The study also found that this benefit reached across ethnicities, with the breakdown of study participants including Caucasians, Japanese-Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Hawaiians.   How the coffee was prepared didn’t seem to make a difference, either. Drip coffee makers, cold brew, French press, pour over… whatever method you prefer to make your coffee, have at it.   So, what is it in coffee that is making researchers come to this conclusion? It’s not entirely clear. Antioxidants, special compounds, better liver function, lower inflammation markers have all been found in coffee.   But just like with the fitness research, "every body is different." Caffeine can cause heartburn, stomach issues, and palpitations. The researchers also say they don’t know enough to specifically tell people to start drinking if they don’t already. However, if you are already drinking coffee, enjoy!  

Effects of Coffee

How does coffee affect the body? The Telegraph reported on just this subject. From the first sip, your blood pressure rises and your heart rate slows (although more cups of coffee can increase heart rate). Those with issues like high blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, and heart disease may be at risk, however. Be sure to listen to your healthcare provider.   The acid found in coffee can help with digestion by raising acid levels in your stomach. Have that after dinner cup, just make sure not to drink it on an empty stomach. And speaking of digestion, coffee also helps with moving things along. Caffeinated or not, the bowel is stimulated by compounds found in coffee.   Coffee as an eye-opener may be more than just a saying. Within 20 minutes of drinking coffee, the caffeine raises adrenaline causing your pupils to dilate which may even make things appear more in focus. Your brain will also feel more alert and you may even benefit from better concentration and longer memory retention. In addition, caffeine works like the drug given to respiratory patients which helps to open up the lungs. So, it may even help you breathe easier.   You know coffee gives you energy, but did you know that the best time to take advantage of this might not be as soon as you wake up? Studies suggest waiting an hour to drink your first cup as your body’s cortisol levels are high enough to keep you going right after waking up. After a few hours, if you aren’t rested enough, you may experience a “coffee crash”. There is no substitute for the appropriate amount of sleep. Which brings us to this question – how late should you drink coffee? If you drink coffee too late in the evening, your body won’t be able to produce melatonin, confusing your body and keep you awake. So, don’t drink coffee within the last few hours before bed. Might we suggest a calming herbal tea, like chamomile, instead?   Finally, if the large number of social media memes can be believed, we all feel the benefits of coffee on our mood. With coffee stimulating our dopamine production, we can feel a reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety within an hour of consumption. In addition, we can feel an increase of contentment. It has even been shown in women that regular coffee use may even lower cases of depression. Just don’t overdo it. Too much coffee can actually affect you adversely with a rise in restlessness and anxiety.  

Brew On

The takeaway from all this research is if you are already consuming coffee with no ill-effects, continue and enjoy! A few cups of coffee per day may benefit you more than you first realized. But don’t overdo it. Everything in moderation, as they say.
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