BRENDAN BROWN | SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2015
COFFEE ME UP! HEALTH BENEFITS
The health effects of drinking coffee have long been a source of controversy. The controversy has centered on its content of caffeine, a stimulant that can cause problems for some people.
However, as mentioned above, a consensus is emerging that coffee has some really great benefits:
- Coffee might help to prevent the sort of cognitive decline usually associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Researchers discovered that participants who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 65% decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later on in life.
- Coffee can help people to lose weight, as caffeine is one of the few natural substances with proven fat burning capabilities. Caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%, and increase the burning of fat by as much as 29% in lean people and 10% in those who are obese.
- According to a Japanese study, men consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%.
- Drinking two cups of coffee a day has been associated with a 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer.
- Coffee consumption is linked with a reduced incidence of some types of cancers, including liver and colorectal cancer.
- Drinking coffee has been found to ease pain in the neck, shoulders, forearms, and wrists experienced by those who work in an office.
- Two cups of coffee can cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48%.
- Coffee might help to prevent depression. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why this is so, but they believe that it’s because caffeine activates neurotransmitters in the brain which are responsible for controlling mood. What’s clear is that coffee consumption has been associated with a 50 percent reduction in suicide risk among both men and women.
- Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases outlined above, it’s not surprising that coffee drinkers tend to live longer overall.
Coffee’s main health giving qualities arise from its antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help us to fight inflammation, an underlying cause of many chronic conditions.
In fact, studies show that most Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from both fruits and vegetables combined (though perhaps this serves best to demonstrate how sad the SAD diet is, rather than coffee’s superstar antioxidant status).
Note that the health benefits apply to instant coffee as well as the good quality stuff.
THE BEST TIME TO GET YOUR JAVA ON (PS. IT’S NOT EARLY MORNING)
If we dive into coffee as soon as our eyelids open, it might not give us the boost in energy we are seeking.
This is because, biologically speaking, our bodies are least in need of coffee in the morning.
As humans we are affected by the 24-hour hormonal cycle called the circadian clock, which controls the release of a hormone called cortisol. This is the hormone which makes us feel alert and awake, and is at peak production in our bodies between 8-9am.
According to ASAP Science, drinking coffee during a peak cortisol period has two unwanted effects for us.
- Caffeine interferes with the body’s own production of cortisol, which means that the body ends up producing less of it.
- A person’s tolerance is caffeine is strengthened, which means they’re going to seek it out more and more, but with diminishing ‘return on investment’.
For most people, cortisol levels actually peak at three times during the day: between 8-9 am, 12-1 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm. If someone wants to get the most bang for their buck in terms of caffeine intake, it’s during the slumps of cortisol levels.
The best time to drink coffee, therefore, is between 10-11.30am, and 2-5pm, when your cortisol levels naturally dip. Your body will most need a caffeine hit during these times.
Admittedly, abstaining from coffee until 10am might seem a bit… unnatural.
But think of it like this: the only reason we crave it immediately upon waking is because we’ve effectively trained our bodies to expect a jolt of caffeine first thing in the morning (think Pavlov’s dog). So just quit being a well trained dog and think optimization!