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Brighton Journal | 20th November 2019

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Is coffee surprisingly good for you?

Is coffee surprisingly good for you?
Natalia Webster

Coffee, and the caffeine it contains, is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Brighton is no exception to this rule. The coffee scene in our lovely city means we are rarely short of an opportunity to drink a cup of the freshly brewed elixir. There are plenty of sources out there harping on about all the reasons coffee is bad for you, but, we don’t want to hear that do we? So here are all the ways coffee is good for you, as if you need an excuse.

Performance enhancing coffee

There’s a reason gym goers, athletes, and sports-persons often chug a cup of java or other form of caffeinated beverage before exercise. Coffee strengthens muscle contraction, reduces perceptions of pain, and improves endurance. Beware of dehydration though. Coffee is a diuretic which will cause you to get dehydrated so make sure you re-hydrate to counterbalance any negative effects dehydration may have on your performance.

Java juice is brain juice

You may find that an espresso before a driving test or an interview might make you perform better. Studies have shown that coffee provides a boost to short-term memory and reaction times. Coffee also apparently prevents cognitive-decline associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Theories for the cause of this correlation between decreased cognitive-decline and coffee are still in development. However it is known that a cup of tea does not have the same effect.

Coffee is a potent source of nutrients and antioxidants

One of the biggest health benefits of coffee is that it contains huge amounts of healthful disease-ravaging antioxidants. It has been suggested that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet, even more than green tea and cocoa.  One cup of coffee also contains small amounts, between 2-11%, of the RDA of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5). These B vitamins are important for preventing infection, cell health, and proper nerve function amongst other things.

Coffee can prevent type-2 diabetes

The aforementioned antioxidants combined with magnesium that also exists in coffee regulates the metabolism of blood sugar. This, in turn, reduces your risk of getting type-2 diabetes. It has been shown that with each extra cup of coffee drank per day, the risk of developing this disease decreases by 7% per cup! This applies to decaffeinated coffee as well, so if more than one cup of coffee a day gives you the jitters, switch to decaf after your morning brew.

Burn fat with caffeine

Caffeine in coffee has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. This in turn raises metabolic rates and increases the oxidisation of fatty acids. This helps to explain why most fat loss supplements contain caffeine. I would like to highlight here that the fat loss benefits of caffeine does NOT outweigh the fat loss benefits of a good nights sleep. Get your ZzzZZz’s people!

Livers love coffee

Studies have found that drinking coffee significantly reduces signs of liver inflammation and damage. It can reduce your risk of developing end stage liver damage caused by alcoholism and hepatitis called cirrhosis by as much as 80%. It has also been shown that the more coffee you drink the lower your risk developing liver cancer up to 40%. So feel free to pour yourself a hot cup of Joe after a booze-y night out.

How to keep it healthy without over indulging

Now that we know the ways in which coffee is healthy for you we can look at how to apply that to our coffee consumption habits. First things first, how much is the right amount? This is a difficult question, because the caffeine content varies depending on the preparation of the beverage. Between 2-4 8oz coffees containing a up to total of 400mg of caffeine is considered a healthy amount and will allow you to reap the benefits mentioned here. However, a sugar filled chocomochafrappaccino with extra caramel and whipped cream isn’t likely to have a very positive impact on your health or energy levels. Ditch the sugar and opt for whole milk or nut milks. This will help you limit excess empty calories (’empty’ means they have no nutritional value) and ensure you reap the benefits of your coffee without any un-healthy drawbacks.

Oh and one more thing, for God’s sake, STOP using single use coffee cups.

In the uk we use 7 million coffee cups daily. Half a million of these coffee cups are littered every day. Less that 1% of coffee cups are recycled. This is not okay. You can either be a mug or use a mug.

 

 

 

 

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