Hold the Cream and Sugar
Researchers, doctors, and dieticians have long warned about the negative factors of drinking coffee. Lately, study upon study is showing that coffee has got a number of pluses on its side regarding how it interacts with our bodies. As with anything, moderation is the key. Pregnant women should just generally avoid coffee or any caffeine.
Red Bull and Mountain Dew are not coffee substitutes; the caffeine is artificial and the other stuff used to make the beverages are devastating to general health. Using sugar and cream absolutely negates any benefits imparted by the brew. All that negativism aside, take a look at the positive side of having a “Cup o’ Joe.”
Five Health Benefits
Coffee, when consumed in a thoughtful way, can be an effective component of a strong overall health and fitness plan. Of course, you need to be generally healthy. With that given, coffee is pretty well tolerated and the positive effects seem to outweigh the negative ones for most of us. Here are at least five ways studies have shown coffee to be beneficial:
● One: Disease Prevention
– Reduced Risk of Cancers – Prostate, Liver, Kidney, Colorectal. Men who drank three to six cups per day had the chance of prostate cancer reduced from 30-60 per cent. People who drank coffee had about half the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma than those who never drank it. Coffee drinkers also had less liver fibrosis, less incidence of fat in the liver, and lower rates of hepatitis C progression.
– Protection Against Type 2 Diabetes – Two studies have revealed that coffee provided a protective effect against type 2 diabetes. It also doubles the body’s uptake of glucose which lowers glucose blood levels.
– Stroke Risk Decreased – Studies on women showed that those who drank coffee had lowered their risk of stroke from 20-25 per cent.
– Heart Arrhythmia Deflected – Moderate coffee drinking seems to lessen the chances of being hospitalised for heart arrhythmia.
– Pulmonary Function Improved – In a study of non-smokers, moderate consumption of coffee had a beneficial effect on pulmonary functions.
– Gut Flora Increased – Coffee increased the metabolic activity and the numbers of this beneficial bacteria that inhabits the gastrointestinal canal.
● Two: Anti-Oxidants
– We all know that fruits and vegetables with the deepest and most vibrant colours offer the most beneficial effects on our health. The same is true for coffee. Dark roasted coffee, such as Turkish, Italian, or French are no exception.
– A study found that dark roasted coffees restore blood levels of vitamin E and glutathioine more effectively than lighter roasts. They also offer higher levels of neuroprotective agents.
● Three: Weight Loss
Dark roasted coffee rules again. It has been shown to lead to significant weight reduction in subjects who were in pre-obese stages.
– Research has also shown that coffee increases your metabolism by up to 20 percent. That’s more calories being burnt.
– Another plus: coffee stabilises blood glucose levels which may help curb your sugar cravings. It also binds to your opioid receptors to further decrease those cravings.
– Dark roasted coffee produces a larger quantity of an element called N-methylpyridinium which inhibits the production of stomach acids. As unlikely as it seems, dark roasteds may be easier on your tummy than the lighter roasted coffees.
● Four: Brain and Muscle Tissue
– Caffeine from natural whole coffee may help keep your brain and muscle tissue young. Some unknown ingredient present in coffee seems to interplay with the caffeine to cut the risk of Alzheimer’s. And coffee consumption seems to cut the risk of Parkinson’s, so much so that drug companies are researching experimental drugs that mimic coffee’s effects on the brain.
– Coffee triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons.
– BDNF also affects your muscles by supporting the neuromotor, a critical muscle element. It initiates muscle action. If this element is degraded, it’s part of the cause of age-related muscular atrophy.
– Coffee can be beneficial if consumed before exercise as it gives you fast energy to initiate your workout. If you train in the morning, having coffee offers an advantage. Beware, consuming coffee after your workout interferes with your body’s muscle-building capabilities.
● Five: Optimal Use
– The Best Coffee Requires the Best Containers – Mugs should be made of ceramic or glass. Plastic leaches BPA; Styrofoam leaches polystyrene. Coffee makers should have no plastic components. Bleached coffee filters will leach chlorine into your brew and they may also contain the dangerous disinfectants such as dioxin.
– The Best Coffee Requires the Best Beans – Freshness is the key. Since coffee is a dried food, it can become rancid or infected with molds. Whole beans with a delightful aroma are your best bet. Not only is it fun to roast and grind you own beans, it also pretty much guarantees you’ll have the freshest coffee available. It will save you considerable money at the coffee vendor’s shop as well.
– The Best Coffee Requires the Best Growing Situation – This factor is most crucial. Since most commercial big brands are some of the most heavily sprayed crops, always choose organic coffee. Any pesticides, fertilisers, or other chemicals will easily negate any of the therapeutic effects of coffee. Purchase “sustainable” coffee that is shade-grown, as it does the least harm to rain forest habitats and animals. Some say it tastes better, too.
Caffeine Isn’t the Only Thing
Not every single study shows coffee to be a panacea, but the majority are quite positive. Although organic coffee as a whole food may be therapeutic, caffeine in isolation can be quite toxic. The natural blend of polyphenol antioxidants (including chlorogenic acids), bioflavonoids, vitamins, and minerals in coffee beans all work together to help neutralise the negative effects of the caffeine. Caffeine isn’t the only thing at work in coffee.
There are thousands of different natural chemical compounds, some still unidentified, in your brew; and science now suggests the interaction among them can pack a decent nutritional boost. With all of these compounds, you might wonder if there are any that have undesirable health effects. Well, there probably are. But that’s where applying the caveats and guidelines mentioned above will help keep your coffee consumption as a positive thing in your diet and your lifestyle.
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Guest Post by: Joyce Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading providers of Dietetics and Nutrition Degrees and Certificate IV in Fitness. When not working, Joyce blogs about health and fitness.
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