There is something about coffee that stirs up strong emotions among its lovers, of whom most would say they cannot live without a cup of every day. For many people, it is hard to imagine a day going by without sipping on a cuppa (or three!) to get them through the day. For people who drink several cups of coffee a day, there is often guilt around whether or not to indulge in the next cup, with concern about what the black stuff might be doing to their overall health. But is coffee actually so bad? Let’s investigate the contents of your morning mug and afternoon pick-me-up a little more closely to find an answer to the question of whether or not is coffee good or bad for you.
A lot of research has been done into coffee, and evidence from the many studies is actually showing some good news for coffee-lovers- coffee is a healthy drink to have in moderation. Along with caffeine, coffee contains antioxidants and nutrients that can improve your health, and it can even contribute to lowering the risk of many serious diseases.
How coffee helps prevent disease
• Type 2 Diabetes: Studies have shown that people who drink coffee have a 23-50% lower risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. Each daily cup of coffee drunk contributes to a 7% reduced risk of developing this disease.
• Neurodegenerative Diseases: Along with healthy eating and exercise, studies are now showing that coffee may also be effective in preventing against the neurodegenerative diseases Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s. Getting their daily caffeine fix means coffee drinkers have a 65% lower risk of acquiring these conditions.
• Liver Cirrhosis: People who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day may be protected against the risk of liver cirrhosis by up to 80%.
• Cancer: Research is showing that liver cancer and colorectal cancer may be prevented by drinking coffee, with a 40% lower risk of getting liver cancer and 15% lower risk of acquiring colorectal cancer for coffee drinkers.
• Stroke and Heart Disease: Despite the common claims that drinking coffee increases blood pressure, this small effect of caffeine can be counter-balanced by new studies showing that coffee does not raise the risk of heart disease, and that it can even reduce the risk of heart disease in some women. Caffeine can also reduce the risk of stroke by 20%.
How coffee makes you smarter and slimmer
As well as helping to reduce disease risk, drinking coffee can also make you smarter, improve your energy levels and help you to burn fat. Coffee can help stabilize your blood glucose level and may even help curb sugar cravings.
Of course one of the reasons many people drink coffee is to help them to feel less tired and fatigued and to provide a pick-me-up. The way that coffee does this is through its caffeine content. Caffeine is absorbed by the body through the bloodstream into the brain where it has a stimulant effect on the neurotransmitters. The end result is more neurons are fired and overall brain function improves. This is why after drinking a cuppa you have improved mood, higher energy levels, and better cognitive function.
As well as providing more energy, coffee also has the power to help you to burn fat. Caffeine has been proven to aid in fat burning by boosting the metabolic rate by up to 11%. When caffeine stimulates the nervous system, it sends signals to the fat cells to break down body fat, releasing them into the blood as free fatty acids and making them available as fuel. For people who want a boost to their weight loss efforts, having a cup or two of coffee a day could really have an impact, especially if you enjoy a cup 30 minutes before exercising.
How coffee makes you happy
Coffee drinkers the world over will tell you how happy they feel after enjoying a coffee. Studies are showing that this comes down to more than just getting a caffeine fix. A 2011 study revealed that when women drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day they had 20% less risk of acquiring clinical depression.
How nutritious is coffee?
When looking closely at the content of coffee, there aren’t really bad ingredients, but there are many healthy and nutritious ones. A single cup of coffee contains:
• Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
• Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA
• Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA
• Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA
Coffee also contains large quantities of antioxidants which are important for having a healthy immune function and to resist disease. It is this synergy of bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals in coffee beans that work together to make it a nutritious drink to have.
The problem that people have when drinking coffee is that they don’t always just drink it black, and it isn’t always the best quality of coffee. Often people add-in milk, sugar and other sweeteners and flavours which are not so healthy.
If you want to reap the benefits of the essential nutrients in your mug, keep your coffee black without milk or sugar. You should also drink organic freshly ground coffee beans- avoid the instant at all costs- to really enjoy coffee’s therapeutic benefits. Also opt for dark roast beans as these provide the most robust health benefits.
Why does coffee have a bad reputation?
With all these health benefits you might be wondering why it is that coffee is often considered a bad vice that should be given up. The thing is that for some people, caffeine can cause over-stimulation, causing the jitters or sadness when consumed every day. It can also have negative effects on people who are stressed and with adrenal fatigue, and the caffeine in coffee can disrupt sleep patterns. It is also important to remember that to obtain the benefits of coffee with minimal side effects that it should be drunk on its own as an espresso without milk or sugar, ingredients which can both lead to myriad negative side effects.
So, unless you have a sensitivity or allergic reaction to coffee, the next time you have the urge to indulge in a cup of coffee, know that you are doing something healthy. For the average healthy person the positive effects of drinking coffee seem to outweigh the negative ones of consuming caffeine. It should be consumed in the right way and in moderation. You might be wondering if we allow you to drink coffee while on Bootcamp, and the answer is yes! Don’t feel like you will be deprived of your coffee fix each day, though we only allow your coffee to be black, without milk or sugar.