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Is coffee good for you?
Is coffee good for you?

Yes it is!

Both in the short-term (just after drinking a cup) and the long-term (wellbeing throughout your lifetime), coffee has proven benefits to your health and happiness.

Energy and athletic performance: coffee can improve energy levels, mood, reaction times, and general brain functions. Sounds like a lot – how can such miracles be true?

The answer lies in some simple brain science. Coffee contains caffeine, the world’s most widely used psychoactive drug (thank goodness it’s legal!). Caffeine works to block the neurotransmitter adenosine (a chemical messenger) from firing in your brain, allowing others to work their magic instead (eg. norepinephrine and dopamine – two different types of stimulant). The result is a lovely buzz that lasts between 30 minutes and a few hours, depending on your body chemistry.

As well as the brain buzz, the body’s athletic performance is also boosted by caffeine(that’s why you often see caffeine in energy drinks). It stimulates the nervous system, and prepares the body for physical exertion with the release of adrenaline. As long as you don’t overdo it or consume it too late at night, strategic coffee consumption can have an uplifting effect on day to day life, whether in the gym or at your desk.

In the longer term, drinking coffee is a great way to take in some essential nutrients as part of a healthy diet.

Coffee is a source of the following nutrients, which are useful in different ways:

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – to help build red blood cells and support energy functions
Vitamin B3 (niacin) – to balance cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy brain function
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – to help convert food into energy – it’s also good for healthy skin, hair & eyes
Potassium – to reduce blood pressure and conduct signals through the body
Magnesium – to create energy & proteins, maintain DNA, and regulate stress

With a standard routine of a couple of cups a day, you’re making a big dent in your Recommended Daily Allowance of these important nutrients. Brew up!

Coffee also contains loads of antioxidants, one of nature’s more heroic inventions. These are chemical compounds, minerals and other nutrients which deactivate free radicals before they attack cells. Free radicals damage cells, proteins and DNA within the body, and are associated with diseases like cancer, Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, and more.

Coffee also has a role to play in fat-burning and weight loss. This is, of course, mainly achieved with a healthy diet and regular exercise, but coffee can certainly help things along.

A cup of black coffee will be your best bet – avoid sugary additives or heavy dairy products for maximum healthiness. The caffeine in a regular cup will boost your metabolic rate (the speed at which you burn energy) by 3 – 11%, meaning less will get stored as fat.

Finally, coffee has also been found to improve mental health & wellbeing – there’s links between regular coffee drinking and lowered risk of depression in adults. 

There’s no proof of eternal life via espresso just yet, but you might as well put the kettle on – just to be sure.

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