Top 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).
Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it!
There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're used to drinking.
NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.
If you just don't like the taste of coffee and are a tea drinker, discover the 'Health Benefits of Black Tea and how to Make the Perfect Cup' from Yolanda at PutTheKettleOn.
Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.
Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.
About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is "fast" metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.
This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different!
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body
NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.
Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):
- Stimulates the brain
- Boosts metabolism
- Boosts energy and exercise performance
- Increases your stress hormone cortisol
So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.
Coffee’s health risks and benefits
There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.
Here are the few negatives of drinking coffee:
- Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
- Increased sleep disruption
Here are some benefits of drinking coffee:
- Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
- Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of certain liver diseases
- Lower risk of premature death
- Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease
Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues). Health risks and benefits of coffee can also be determined by pesticide exposure and what we put in our coffee (more on that below).
NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.
Not all coffee is created equal
Actually, it’s created equal and then man messes it up with things like pesticides, herbicides, and sugar.
Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. So if you’re not drinking organic coffee, you’re consuming hundreds of chemicals in your morning cup o’ joe. It’s important to use organic coffee like this one to avoid added toxins.
I don’t know how you like your coffee, but coffee used to be how I drank my cream and sugar. I’ve mentioned before that my favorite coffee beverage was the White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks which I’ve since found out has over 50g of sugar!!! Not to mention the milk they use comes from cows that were given growth hormone, antibiotics, and were fed GMO grains while being kept in tight quarters.
This is an all around toxic drink….chemicals from pesticides on the coffee beans, sugar is the #1 contributor to disease as we know it, growth hormone and antibiotics contribute to disease and weight gain, and miserable cows lead to miserable cow products.
Now when I drink coffee, I use organic coffee with organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk and monk fruit sweetener. This way I’m avoid all toxins, decreasing my chance for disease, not spiking my blood sugar and still get to enjoy a morning cup of coffee 😊
Should you drink coffee or not?
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.
Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:
- People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
- People who often feel anxious
- People who have trouble sleeping
- People who are pregnant
- Children and teens.
If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:
- Give you the jitters?
- Increase anxious feelings?
- Affect your sleep?
- Give you heart palpitations?
- Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
- Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?
Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.
Peace and wellness -
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