By Ray Taylor
Who here likes coffee? If you’re anything like me, there’s probably a hot cup in your hand right now. But I bet you’ve never given anymore thought to your cup o’ joe past the fact that it gives you that burst of energy in the morning to help you start your day. While that is true, there are also many other wonderful benefits to that cup of liquid gold.
CAN IMPROVE ENERGY LEVELS AND MOOD
I’m sure that everyone is already aware that when you drink coffee you can feel your energy start to rise. This is the caffeine making its way through your system into your brain where it starts to go to work. When the caffeine hits your brain it starts to produce certain chemicals like norepinephrine. This guy is responsible for making you more alert and present. Another is dopamine, one of the chemicals responsible for elevating mood and making you feel happy. Together, these chemicals are why 15-20 minutes after taking your first sip you feel like a million bucks and the world is your oyster. Fun little tip, to make these affects last longer try mixing a healthy fat into your coffee like grass-fed butter or an MCT oil.
HELPS BURN FAT
I’m sure you’ve never given this a thought, but its true. Coffee does indeed help burn fat. Now when I say coffee I’m once again referring to that wonderful component caffeine. Well, what caffeine does is it boosts your metabolism. That funny thing inside us all that converts food to energy. Well when you drink coffee the caffeine ignites your metabolism and begins converting stored fat to energy. One studyshowed that caffeine can increase your metabolic rate by 3-11%, up to three hours after consumption. Now make sure you don’t negate these affects by dumping a buttload of sugar into your cup. Sugar may have its special place in your diet but not in your coffee. A fun tip, if you have the time after your morning cup of heaven go for a 10-20 minute walk to further ignite your fat burning furnace.
CAN HELP FIGHT DEPRESSION
A subject that everyone knows about but few really want to discuss is depression. It seems like every time you flip on the TV there is some new news story about depression and or/suicide. Every commercial is trying to push some new wonder drug. The very thought of depression can be well, depressing. But like a shining beam of light through the stormy clouds, coffee is there to give us hope.
In 2011, a Harvard study showed women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. That’s huge. Another studyshowed coffee drinkers who consumed 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to die of suicide. That is incredible. I’m not going to sit here and claim that coffee is the end all be all solution to the incredibly complex subject of depression, but it is a huge leap in the right direction.
PROTECTION FROM ALZHEIMERS AND DEMENTIA
Time waits for no one. It’s no secret that we are all getting older. No matter how hard we try to fight it, father time keeps moving the clock forward and sadly for some of us that comes with a host of side effects. One of which is the most common neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer’s. Usually affecting people 65 and older, there is no cure, but there are many ways to lower your risk and prevent it from happening in the first place. From eating healthy to exercise, coffee consumption stands among the many things you can do to lower your risk. In fact several studies have shown that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Most of us are no strangers to alcohol. If you’re like me you have a love hate relationship with booze. It can go from your best friend to your worst enemy overnight. The main organ used for the process of breaking down alcohol is the liver and over time with excessive consumption your liver can begin to build up scar tissue, which can then lead to cirrhosis. However, your old pal coffee is here to save the day. Studies have shown that some ingredients in coffee have an inverse affect on alcoholic(as well as nonalcoholic) cirrhosis. In fact this effect increases with greater coffee consumption, and over longer periods of time, decreasing your chance of cirrhosis by 80%. Just remember to drink coffee(and booze for that matter) in moderation. So next time you have a craving for coffee after a night out, listen to your body. It’ll do you good.
The benefits I’ve listed are merely a handful of what seems like endless benefits to drinking coffee. If you found anything I mentioned interesting, I implore you to do more research. There’s a whole world of health surrounding coffee and it only gets more interesting the deeper you dive. If you’re like me you didn’t need more reasons to reach for a cup of coffee, but it sure is nice to know that that liquid gold you love so much is working to keep you in perfect health.