It turns out that a cup of coffee is packed with goodness that can lower our risk of a host of diseases and boost our brainpower.
That said, when it comes to coffee (and so many other delicious things), moderation is key. Opinions differ on the optimal dose of caffeine, says Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP, a California-based functional medicine physician and clinical nutritionist.
How much coffee is healthy?
While the FDA may say three to five cups [de café] are safe, I advise my patients to limit themselves to one or two cups and not drink caffeine afternoon so as not to disturb their sleep at night. » »
Still, there’s no denying the evidence that your daily coffee is a legitimate energy booster and disease fighter. Read on to learn all the benefits of this uplifting drink.
The main benefits of coffee for health
1. It is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Why is coffee considered a superfood? It is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and magnesium, as well as bioactive compounds that prevent disease.
Chlorogenic acids are a group of polyphenols found in coffee that have antioxidant effects, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, says Claire Carlton MS, RD, LD/N, registered dietitian nutritionist and digestive health expert headquartered in North Carolina.
2. Reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Regular (moderate) coffee consumption has been associated with the prevention of serious diseases. One study showed that drinking three to five cups a day reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Another study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that drinking more than one cup of coffee a day was associated with a 25% reduced risk of stroke in women. According to research, certain compounds help the body use glucose for energy, which also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Several studies have also shown that drinking coffee can help prevent certain types of cancer, such as colorectal, prostate, endometrial, and liver cancer. DNA breakage can lead to cancer and tumors, but a study has shown that black coffee decreases this breakage, reducing the risk of developing abnormal cancer cells, says Petersen.
3. Improves brain health.
Many people can’t even commit to their partner, children, or pets until they’ve had their first cup of coffee, and for good reason. Coffee is a natural stimulant that activates our central nervous system, making us feel less tired while improving our ability to focus, pay attention and react quickly, says Rumsey.
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Not only that, but coffee also benefits our long-term brain health. One study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in middle age was associated with a 65 percent lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in adulthood, says Petersen. Several other studies have returned similar results, showing a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive decline.
4. Helps boost metabolism.
As a natural stimulant, coffee also stimulates metabolism. Not only does coffee help the body burn fat, but as a diuretic it aids digestion, says Megan Roosevelt, RDN, a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com. One study found that just one cup of coffee increased participants’ resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure, and fat burning for energy.
There may be too much coffee
While coffee is praiseworthy, it does have its limitations. Caffeine affects people differently and can cause irritability, anxiety or nerv, and ousness in those who are more sensitive or in larger amounts says Rumsey. Also, too much caffeine, or just the wrong time of day, can affect your sleep and even cause insomnia.
Additionally, many people find that coffee is hard on the gut, stimulating acid in the stomach, which can exacerbate heartburn and reflux, especially if you drink it on an empty stomach.
You should also be careful not to use coffee as a crutch. I like to refer to coffee as fake energy because while it’s a stimulant and gives you a temporary cognitive boost, for longer-lasting energy you have to go back to basics: getting enough sleep, regular meals, and good nutrition, says Carlton. . If you find yourself drinking coffee to get you through the day, you’re probably drinking too much.
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