Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, it also seems to be quite healthy. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases.
Here are the top 7 health benefits of coffee:
1. Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter
Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. That’s because it contains a stimulant called caffeine — the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it travels to your brain. In the brain, caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine.
When this happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.
Many controlled studies in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function — including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function.
SUMMARY: Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, which causes a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.
2. Can Help You Burn Fat
Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat-burning supplement — and for good reason. It’s one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning. Several studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3–11% .
Other studies indicate that caffeine can specifically increase fat burning by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people. However, it’s possible that these effects diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.
SUMMARY: Several studies show that caffeine can increase fat burning and boost your metabolic rate.
3. Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance
Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, signaling fat cells to break down body fat; it also increases epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in your blood. This is the fight-or-flight hormone, which prepares your body for intense physical exertion. Caffeine breaks down body fat, making free fatty acids available as fuel.
Given these effects, it’s not surprising that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11–12%, on average. Therefore, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you head to the gym.
SUMMARY: Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from your fat tissues. It also leads to significant improvements in physical performance.
4. Contains Essential Nutrients
Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed coffee.
A single cup of coffee contains:
· Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
· Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 6% of the RDI.
· Manganese and potassium: 3% of the RDI.
· Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3): 2% of the RDI.
Though this may not seem like a big deal, most people enjoy several cups per day — allowing these amounts to quickly add up.
SUMMARY: Coffee contains several important nutrients, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin.
5. May Protect Your Liver
Your liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions. Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and many others
Many of these conditions can lead to cirrhosis, in which your liver is largely replaced by scar tissue. Interestingly, coffee may protect against cirrhosis — people who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower risk.
SUMMARY: Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of cirrhosis, which can be caused by several diseases that affect the liver.
6. Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. It’s very common, as about 4.1% of people in the US currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.
In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed.
Another study in 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to die by suicide.
SUMMARY: Coffee appears to lower your risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce suicide risk.
7. The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in the Western Diet
For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest aspects of their diet. That's because coffee is quite high in antioxidants. Studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined. In fact, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
SUMMARY: Coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants, and many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and veggies combined.