The Health Benefits of Coffee Explained
Coffee is one of America's favorite drinks, but what about this delicious beverage can actually improve your health? Our team of registered dietitians break down the science and health benefits of coffee.
Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year! For many, the day starts when the coffee is brewed. However, the caffeinated beverage has the ability to provide more than just an a.m. jolt and afternoon pick-me-up. The six health benefits of coffee will keep your coffee pot in use and favorite coffee cup filled.
6 Researched Health Benefits of Coffee
Weight and Fat Loss
The high caffeine content in coffee has the ability to suppress the appetite and reduce the risk of calorie overconsumption. Coffee also stimulates thermogenesis, the process in which the body digests food and burns calories. It is important to not dress the coffee up with sugars, syrups, and creams. Those additions can turn a plain, black coffee cup with approximately five calories to a whopping 300 calories.
Improve Physical Performance
General conclusions on caffeine indicate the consumption of coffee does not improve short-term, high-intensity athletic training. However, recent studies do suggest coffee may improve athletic endurance. Endurance training and performance would include a long-distance run rather than a series of sprints. A cup of coffee can be a beneficial, safe pre-workout drink when compared to untested, expensive pre-workout drinks.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Research has shown an inverse relationship between coffee and Type 2 diabetes; meaning as coffee consumption increases, the development of the chronic disease decreases. Interestingly, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee types decreased the risk of Type 2 diabetes. With Type 2 diabetes on the rise along with the related health complications, a few cups of coffee may prevent or limit its development.
In a nutshell (or coffee bean), antioxidants are protective chemicals that fight against free radicals. Free radical sources include pollutants, sugars, and medications just to name a few. If free radicals are unprotected from antioxidants, the body can become damaged and develop medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. A coffee cup full of antioxidants can ultimately lead to disease prevention.
Stroke Risk Reduction
New research has shown coffee can decrease the risk of strokes. According to the journal Stroke, only one cup of coffee per day can decrease the risk up to 20 percent. Other studies even suggest the more cups of coffee, the better. Although the mechanism of decreased stroke risk is unclear, consistent coffee consumption can minimize stroke risks.
Although the nutritional profile of coffee is virtually none when looking at calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates, nutrients in coffee do exist. However, coffee contains essential nutrients the functional body needs to carry out its critical processes. Prominent vitamins and minerals found in a cup of Joe are potassium, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, and niacin.
Coffee & Health. Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee. Available at: http://coffeeandhealth.org/all-about-coffee/nutrition-information/
Higgins C, Straight CR, Lewis RD. The effects of pre-exercise caffeinated ingestion on endurance performance: an evidence-based review. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2015; DOI: 10.1123/ijsnem.2015-0147.
Shearing E. Should you be drinking coffee? National Stroke Association. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/news-release/should-you-be-drinking-coffee