The next time you brew your daily cup of coffee, don’t just gulp it down as your daily shot of caffeine. Research has shown that coffee has several health benefits. For instance, it is packed with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that are valuable for health. Coffee is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and an excellent source of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and riboflavin (Vitamin B2) that helps treat skin infections, acne, cardiovascular diseases, low blood pressure, respiratory diseases, various types of cancer and migraine headaches. Originating in Ethiopia and first used as a beverage in middle 15th century, it is unquestionably the most popular beverage of the world that drives us out of bed every morning and refuels us for the day.
From time immemorial coffee has been used for its healing powers and it was considered a religious drink. Coffee has several health benefits. It is not just a drink. The nutritional value of this black drink makes it the ultimate one. A single cup of coffee contains vitamins such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin and minerals like potassium and magnesium and manganese.
Boosts Energy Level and Enhances Performance:
The strong stimulant caffeine present in coffee enhances energy level and charges up metabolism, thereby increasing both mental and physical energy. Caffeine boosts neurotransmitter Dopamine that has a positive impact on concentration. It pumps up the level of adrenaline that speeds up heart beat and enhances physical performance such a rigorous workouts.It makes you sharper by improving attention, logical reasoning and intelligence.
Helps Fight Depression and Reduces Risk of Suicide:
Earlier associated only to adults, depression it is becoming increasingly common among teenagers too. Depression is one of the most common ailments that haunt the majority of today’s population. Coffee works as an instant antidepressant. The high level of antioxidants in coffee has been shown to lift the mood and make you happy. Research shows that those who drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day lowered the risk of depression by 20%. In addition, it also reduces the tendency of suicide by 50%, an amazing find indeed.
Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes:
Research shows that daily consumption of 4-6 cups of coffee lowered the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 30% whether the coffee is decaf or not. Coffee contains a range of polyphenols and chlorogenic acid (CGA) that prevents diabetes and improves control of glucose in diabetic patients.
Lowers Risk of Certain Cancers:
In present times, cancer has become the leading cause of death around the world. But coffee appears to have a protective mechanism against two types of cancer- Liver and Colorectal Cancer. Research shows that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day cuts out the risk of liver cancer by half and colorectal cancer by 15%. The high level of antioxidants present in coffee has the potential to shield the liver against cancer.
Helps Lose Weight:
Coffee works wonders as an appetite suppressant. Drinking a cup of coffee in the afternoon or post dinner helps cut the craving for a snack or a sweet treat. It works as a stimulant and supplies energy enabling us to be more active. In addition, coffee stimulates thermogenesis- the process of heat generation by the body for the purpose of digesting food that leads to calorie burn. But in order to reap the weight loss benefits of coffee, it has to be taken in the plain form without milk, sugar and our oh-so-favorite cream.
Shields from Alzheimer’s:
One of the most common form of Dementia that affects older adults, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s develop slowly but gets severe over time. Although, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, yet drinking a minimum of 3-4 cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60%.
Protects against Parkinson’s:
Second in rank right after Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s too is incurable still now, but coffee can work as an effective prevention in reducing the risk of Parkinson’s by 60%. The high level of caffeine content in coffee has a protective mechanism against Dementia.
Protects the Liver:
Coffee is loaded with antioxidants that protect against inflammation and disease causing free radicals or toxins. Drinking 2-4 cups of coffee on a daily basis reduces the risk of liver ailments such as Liver Cirrhosis and Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver (NAFL).
Good for Heart:
The caffeine present in coffee can raise blood pressure, but the effects are temporary and go away gradually. Yet, it is good to keep this fact in mind for those who suffer from high blood pressure. Other than this, coffee is highly beneficial for the heart. A daily intake of four cups of coffee helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke by approximately 20%.
Fights the Wrinkles:
Coffee is not only great for your health; it is fabulous for your skin too. The high level of antioxidants and caffeine molecules in coffee has anti-inflammatory quality that fights the signs of aging and helps preserve the vitality and youthfulness of skin. It reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
Although, by now you have gained a lot of helpful information about health benefits of this drink, but here are a few general pieces of information that will help you choose the right beans for your brew. Coffee bean is actually a cherry seed that grows on a shrub named Coffea. The seeds are roasted and brewed to make coffee. Although the most widely consumed varieties of coffee are Robusta and Arabica, but there are several other types as well.
Arabica: Arabica is considered the higher quality bean that has a mild aroma and flavor. It has a low level of caffeine and has a varying range of taste from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy. It consists of approximately 70% of the world production. It is grown in subtropical regions of Central and South America.
Robusta: This variety has a higher level of caffeine content with a strong taste and flavor. It is used mainly for blends and consists of about 30% of the world production. Robusta requires very little rainfall and is cultivated in South East Asia and parts of Central and West Africa.
Hope these are enough reasons to transform your perspective towards your Joe from just a caffeine supplier to a healthy beverage. But too much of anything is harmful, so have your coffee in moderation and enjoy its benefits to the fullest.
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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