Over half the adult population in America drink coffee as part of their everyday routine. For many people, a morning cup of Joe functions as part of, or instead of, breakfast, whereas for others it’s an excuse to meet and catch up with friends, or a mid-afternoon treat to look forward to. There’s no doubt that it’s an intrinsic part of daily American life and is one of the drinks most associated with the USA around the world.
But is it good for you? Though the overuse of coffee does come with some risks due to its caffeine content, when used sensibly and with due awareness it can actually help to improve your mental and physical health.
Those early morning and mid-afternoon coffee breaks may actually be doing more good for you than you realise; drinking coffee before a morning meeting or before you start work for the day boosts the part of your memory that retains information, allowing you to better absorb and hold onto new knowledge. Drinking it again later on allows you to access that ‘saved’ information more easily, dissipating the brain fog often associated with the post-lunchtime slump. It’s even been proven to help some older people improve their memory as it starts to decline with age. This immediate effect on short-term memory can be beneficial in lots of different ways.
One of coffee’s most recognisable benefits is that it boosts your energy levels. Whilst it’s never a good idea to forego a good night’s sleep, balanced diet and regular exercise in order to get a ‘quick hit’ of energy from your morning espresso, it can help to perk you up just enough to get the job done. A popular method of raising energy levels during the day is to drink a cup of coffee immediately before a short nap; the theory is that you should wake up 20 minutes later feeling refreshed and full of proverbial beans. So if you enjoy a cerebral challenge, it’s worth considering a ‘coffee nap’ before you attempt some Sudoku, hit the PokerStarsCasino or get into a game of WordsWithFriends.
Lowers Risk of Certain Diseases
Drinking coffee regularly has been shown to lower the risk of developing diseases such as Parkinson’s, Type 2 Diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, certain types of cancer, MS and heart disease. Although it is by no means a cure-all, it has been recorded that regular coffee drinkers may receive some level of protection against the diseases listed above.
If you are looking for a helping hand in achieving steady, maintainable weight loss, caffeine could be the answer. Again, the key here is to regulate your intake so that you’re not drinking too much but drinking 1-3 cups of coffee a day has been shown to boost your metabolism and therefore help you to lose weight. By stimulating your nervous system, the caffeine in coffee can help your body to start breaking down stored fat cells, which in t urn raises your metabolism. Coupled with a balanced diet and regular healthy exercise, this process can help you to lose weight and prevents you from putting it back on.
It’s a little known fact that coffee actually contains some powerful antioxidants. Whilst we might immediately think of foods such as grapes, blueberries or oranges as containing high levels of antioxidants, coffee tops them all for antioxidant levels which leads to many of its health benefits. One of its greatest qualities is as an anti-inflammatory, helping to protect your heart and lower the risk of diseases such as MS. Adding some extra kick to your coffee in the shape of fellow antioxidant cinnamon, its anti-inflammatory colleague ginger or immune system-boosting chaga mushroom can expand the health benefits even further.
Puts You In a Good Mood
That little buzz you feel after a tasty cappuccino or latte (you know the one!) isn’t just your imagination – it’s a scientifically quantifiable chemical reaction taking place in your brain. The caffeine in coffee blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine from being released, allowing the increased release of happy chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine instead. This leads to feelings of happiness, greater productivity and more energy. All the key ingredients to put you in a good mood! So next time you need a little pick me up, try a cup of coffee in place of a sweet or starchy treat like chocolate or crisps.
Hopefully you can now see that coffee can have some very real and tangible benefits for the body and mind. Whilst it is often seen as a stimulant for the overworked, tired, cranky office worker, when used in moderation it can actually be incredibly valuable for improving mood and overall health in just about anybody. The question is, how do you like to take your coffee?