I had never realised how many people drank coffee until about 3 years ago when I started drinking it myself. Over 4 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. It’s not something that I crave every day and I have a few guidelines I tend to follow. I really only drink it before a training session and I have one on a Saturday morning after work. It is always a long black as I don’t do well with milk, and I don’t drink it after 12pm so that it doesn’t disrupt my sleep. These are a few things that I do personally but there are many other things about coffee that you may want to know.
When you are purchasing coffee, whether it be out at a café or some for you to make your own at home, it is important to make sure that the coffee is organic. This is because coffee is one of the most chemically sprayed crops in the world. Many of the companies that produce conventional coffee will say that the pesticides are burnt off during the roasting process but I don’t believe this to be true. I would rather buy organic and not ingest these dangerous chemicals.
Even organic can have some problems with it but at least it minimizes the risk. If you get really into it you may want to find a company that produces coffee that is mycotoxin free and fungal by-product free. Mould often contaminates coffee beans and is one of the reasons you may feel jittery after having a coffee sometimes if you are not sensitive to coffee in the first place.
Another thing is to avoid drinking your coffee out of the take-away cups. The plastic from the lid actually ends up in your body. If you get a take-away regularly then take your own glass cup with you and get them to fill that up. Gemma Smith has written about this in a previous article that you can find here.
Coffee drinkers have been shown to live longer than non-coffee drinkers in many recent studies . Consuming 1 cup of coffee per day reduced the chances of dying from all disease by 6% and by 10% in those that drank 2-3 cups of coffee per day. This seemed to be the threshold as drinking 6 cups or more per day still only reduced the risk of dying by 10% compared to non-coffee drinkers. This has been put down to the antioxidants and certain polyphenols that are found in coffee beans. For some people coffee is the only source of antioxidants they get. Dark-roast coffee will help improve your antioxidant status and coffee can help speed up detoxification.
Coffee also has positive effects on blood vessels which can improve heart and brain health. Coffee can increase the production of nitric oxide which helps blood vessels dilate and it also has anti-inflammatory polyphenols that protect the cardiovascular system. A cardiovascular disease risk reduction of 11% was found in those that consumed 1.5 cups of coffee per day over non-coffee drinkers. A reduction of total cholesterol and triglycerides has also been shown in those that consume coffee.
Coffee has also been shown to help improve brain health reducing the risk for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Caffeinated coffee has been shown to increase a growth factor that increases the growth of new brain cells. Interestingly caffeine has also been shown to help with depression.
Drinking coffee may also decrease your risk of developing diabetes. Drinking 1-3 cups of coffee a day was shown to reduce the risk of having high blood sugar by 49%. Consuming coffee can increase fat burning and has been associated with lower triglyceride levels.
Coffee has more than a thousand beneficial compounds but a lot of these benefits are being related to chlorogenic acid. It is a polyphenol that has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Chlorogenic acid can also lower blood glucose and reduce the risk of cancer.
These are a few of the benefits to consuming coffee. If you feel jittery or get anxious when consuming coffee, then it may not be for you. If on the other hand you enjoy your coffee then try to buy organic to stay away from pesticides and other harmful chemicals, don’t over-do it, and drink it at the right time of day to get some of the above benefits.