Here at Jackhammer we do not need an excuse to drink a perfect cup of brewtally strong, sublime coffee, however there are some great reasons to drink coffee and how it is good for your health aside from it tasting delicious, that you need to know!
1. Coffee makes you smarter
I wondered why we are so darn smart! Apparently, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function such as alertness and concentration. Caffeine is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, it travels into the brain. In the brain, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. When that happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine actually increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons. Many controlled trials in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function. This includes memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general cognitive function. I could just stop there ... but hey! It keeps getting better!
2. Coffee can help you burn fat and improves physical performance
Heck yeah! Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from the fat tissues. It also leads to significant improvements in physical performance, around 11-12%. Have a strong cup of coffee about a half an hour before you head to the gym! WOW! Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, causing it to send signals to the fat cells to break down body fat. But caffeine also increases Epinephrine (Adrenaline) levels in the blood. This is the "fight or flight" hormone, designed to make our bodies ready for intense physical exertion. Caffeine makes the fat cells break down body fat, releasing them into the blood as free fatty acids and making them available as fuel. Given these effects, it is not surprising to see that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11-12%, on average. Love it!
3. Coffee may be extremely good for your liver
We like this one a lot (as she reaches for another glass of wine.)
Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing cirrhosis, which can be caused by several diseases that affect the liver. The liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions in the body. Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and others. Many of these diseases can lead to called cirrhosis, in which the liver has been largely replaced by scar tissue. It turns out that coffee may protect against cirrhosis. People who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower risk.
4. Coffee could reduce your risk of developing type II diabetes
There is a bit of a debate about this one but several observational studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of getting type II diabetes, a serious disease that currently afflicts about 300 million people worldwide. It is characterised by elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin. For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The studies show that people who drink the most coffee have a 23-50% lower risk of getting this disease, one study showing a reduction as high as 67%. According to a massive review that looked at data from 18 studies with a total of 457,922 individuals, each daily cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
5. There are essential nutrients in coffee
We all love nutrients! Coffee contains several important nutrients, including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.
6. Coffee can fight depression and make you happier
Now the sunshine can do this too but coffee appears to lower the risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce the risk of suicide. Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. Another study with 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide.
So why is this? Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by increasing production of certain 'feel good' neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. This could explain why previous epidemiological studies have found a lower risk of depression among coffee drinkers in past, the study reported. In spite of the findings, the authors do not recommend that depressed adults self-medicate by increasing their caffeine consumption as an increase could result in unpleasant side effects.
7. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of some types of cancer
The big C. An evil blight on human kind. Research results suggest that coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer at a number of body sites, including the oral cavity/pharynx, liver, endometrium, brain, colon and rectum. Cancer is one of the world's leading causes of death and is characterised by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer... liver cancer and colorectal cancer. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth. Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer. One study of 489,706 individuals found that those who drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer. Keep drinking and lets hope this research is right!
8. Coffee can help you live longer
No more of this living hard and fast ... A new report claims that regular coffee drinkers may live longer than those who do not drink coffee. Researchers say there is growing evidence that coffee benefits the health, makes you live longer, and reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, other life-threatening illnesses, and even suicide. The study was published by the American Heart Association. It looked at the coffee-drinking habits of over 200,000 people who drank between one and five cups of coffee a day. Researcher Dr Frank Hu said: "This study provides further evidence that moderate consumption of coffee may confer health benefits in terms of reducing premature death due to several diseases."
Coffee contains very large amounts of antioxidants, including polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids. These antioxidants may improve health and help reduce the risk of several diseases.
Take that blueberries!
(well.... the antioxidants in plant food and coffee are different so while coffee may be the biggest source of antioxidants in the diet, it should never be relied on as the only source of antioxidants.)
10. Just smelling coffee could make you less stressed.
Who cannot resist the delectable aroma of freshly brewed coffee? It always, without fail, puts a smile on my face.
Researchers at the Seoul National University examined the brains of rats (we do not condone animal testing btw) who were stressed with sleep deprivation and discovered that those who were exposed to coffee aromas experienced changes in brain proteins tied to that stress. Note, this aroma study doesn’t relate to stress by itself, only to the stress felt as a result of sleep deprivation. Now, we’re not totally sure if this means you should keep a bag of roasted coffee beans by your bed every night, but its got to be worth a try!