In recent years, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding coffee and caffeine consumption. Is it good for you? How much is too much? Does it help or hinder fat loss? How many cups can you drink per day before admitting you have an unhealthy addiction? That last one may just be me…
Whether you like to whip up a cup of instant, buy and grind your own beans, or have your signature order brewed from your local, speciality roaster such as Di Bella Coffee, coffee is a daily must-have for people across the globe.
I am firmly of the belief that a moderate amount of coffee (2-4 cups a day) has a host of benefits that can complement a healthy lifestyle ranging from an increased level of alertness, the provision of beneficial nutrients, and the reduction of developing a number of several serious diseases.
1. Natural pre-workout
Coffee contains a stimulant called caffeine, which is the most commonly consumed drug in the world. Once it enters your bloodstream, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine and, in doing so, improves your cognitive function, memory and reaction time.
It simultaneously increases epinephrine (adrenaline) in the blood, which prepares our body for physical exertion. On average, caffeine improves physical performance by 11-12 per cent.
Caffeine not only improves your brain’s function, but also lifts your mood and combats anxiety and depression. It is no surprise that most people first need a cup of coffee before they can be expected to do anything else in the morning!
As you may know, I don’t take any supplements other than my hormone-related supps and the very occasional whey protein shake. I have only used a designated pre-workout supplement three or four times in my entire life, but I regularly drink coffee to achieve the same effects.
I typically have one cup of coffee first thing in the morning, and another cup in the afternoon about an hour before I train. When I’m competing, I do not take any pre-workout supps, and instead just have an extra cup of coffee. I am one of those people that can have an espresso right before bed without it affecting my sleep, but most people would do better cutting off their caffeine intake at around 2-3pm.
2. Acts as a fat burner
Almost every commercial fat burner contains caffeine. Studies have shown that drinking even a small amount of coffee can help reduce your abdominal fat collections.
Due to its stimulant effect on the central nervous system, coffee can raise your metabolic rate and increase the oxidisation of fatty acids. Provided your “coffee” is not a sugar- and cream-filled Frappuccino containing hundreds of calories, moderate amounts of black coffee (or coffee with a splash of milk, if you must!) will assist your fat loss goals alongside a healthy eating and regular exercise regime.
3. Provides essential nutrients
Coffee is packed with essential nutrients that can benefit your overall wellbeing and contribute to long-term health. It is one of the largest sources of antioxidants in the contemporary diet (most people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruit and vegetables combined!) and it plays a part in neutralising unstable molecules in the human body.
Coffee contains magnesium, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, potassium and niacin. Several cups a day will help support your vitamin intake and assist with supplementing your body’s dietary requirements.
4. Aids cardiovascular protection
One of the often cited negative effects of coffee consumption is that it increases blood pressure. While this is indeed true, the effect is very small and negligible if you are a regular coffee drinker.
Having a few cups of coffee each day actually improves cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that including coffee in your diet can have a positive effect on the health of your heart and blood vessels, and also help reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease and strokes.
5. Reduces the risk of diabetes
Multiple studies have proven that coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type II diabetes, which may be anywhere between a 23 and 50 per cent lower risk.
Regular consumption of coffee is also linked to a reduced risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
As research continues, more accurate insight into the health benefits of the beloved brew is coming to light. What do you love most about coffee?
Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Di Bella Coffee, which I had the pleasure of trying during my recent holiday in Australia.