Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, it also seems to be quite healthy.
Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. Here are the top 5 health benefits of coffee.
Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter
Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. That’s because it contains a stimulant called caffeine – the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.
After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it travels to your brain. In the brain, caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. When this happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.
Many controlled studies in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function – including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function.
Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, which causes a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.
Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance
Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, signaling fat cells to break down body fat. But it also increases epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in your blood. This is the fight-or-flight hormone, which prepares your body for intense physical exertion.
Caffeine breaks down body fat, making free fatty acids available as fuel. Given these effects, it’s unsurprising that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11–12%, on average. Therefore, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you head to the gym.
Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from your fat tissues. It also leads to significant improvements in physical performance.
Contains Essential Nutrients
Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed coffee. A single cup of coffee contains:
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 6% of the RDI.
- Manganese and potassium: 3% of the RDI.
- Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3): 2% of the RDI.
Though this may not seem like a big deal, most people enjoy several cups per day – allowing these amounts to quickly add up.
Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. It’s very common, as about 4.1% of people in the US currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.
In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. Another study in 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to die by suicide.
Coffee appears to lower your risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce suicide risk.
Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease and May Lower Stroke Risk
It’s often claimed that caffeine can increase your blood pressure. This is true, but with a rise of only 3-4 mm/Hg, the effect is small and usually dissipates if you drink coffee regularly.
However, it may persist in some people, so keep that in mind if you have elevated blood pressure. That being said, studies don’t support the idea that coffee raises your risk of heart disease.
On the contrary, there is some evidence that women who drink coffee have a reduced risk. Some studies also show that coffee drinkers have a 20% lower risk of stroke.
Coffee may cause mild increases in blood pressure, which usually diminish over time. Coffee drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease and have a slightly lower risk of stroke.
Not only can your daily cup of joe help you feel more energized, burn fat and improve physical performance, it may also lower your risk of several conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
In fact, coffee may even boost longevity. If you enjoy its taste and tolerate its caffeine content, don’t hesitate to pour yourself a cup or more throughout the day.