Contrary to what many people believe, coffee brings with it a number of health benefits!
Coffee is one of he world’s most popular drinks with over 400 billion cups of coffee believed to be consumed yearly. But is it really healthful, or are there also risks?
The potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee include protecting against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, liver cancer, promoting a healthy heart as well as reducing all cause mortality.
Coffee has rather unfairly been given a reputation for being unhealthy. It is true that if you overdo it, caffeine can cause anxiety and jitters and an upset stomach as well as impair brain function and performance, but let’s focus on the benefits of moderate consumption! As with any stimulant, your intake should not be excessive.
Be aware that coffee is prone to mycotoxins, compounds created by moulds that grow on coffee beans. Mycotoxins can cause a vast array of health problems and the prevalence of mycotoxins on coffee beans is likely to be the reason why some studies conclude that coffee may have a detrimental effect on health. Generally speaking South American coffee beans tend to be less affected by mycotoxins than African coffee beans (due to the process used). Always opt for quality. Single estate coffee is more closely controlled than blended varieties.
Five reasons why you should drink coffee!
Coffee is rich in antioxidants (much higher than in tea or red wine!) and caffeine itself is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help combat free radical activity in our body. Too many free radicals can lead to serious chronic health issues as well as being a key cause of accelerated ageing.
There are studies that have shown that caffeine can improve focus and memory, but beware of overdoing it, leaving you jittery and overstimulated! Also note that if caffeinated beverages are consumed in large quantities over a prolonged period of time, it will have the opposite effect, with decreased blood flow to the brain.
Caffeine increases power output during exercise! If you consume caffeine before your workout, it could improve your performance, but again, be careful so that you don’t overdo it, as the effect only appears to be beneficial if the caffeine intake is low to moderate.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
There are studies that indicate that caffeine can improve insulin sensitivity having a protective effect against metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Coffee is also a rich in polyphenols (chlorogenic acid) which improve carbohydrate metabolism.
Caffeine increases the metabolic rate, mobilising fat tissue and promoting fat loss. Note that although caffeine can boost your metabolism in the short term, the effect diminishes with respect to long-term coffee drinkers.
Celebrate UK Coffee Week by having a high quality cup of coffee.