The media is constantly sending us conflicting information about all sorts of food and drink that it is hard to keep track of what is good for us and what we should be avoiding.
Throughout the years, coffee has attracted a lot of negativity vis-à-vis its possible carcinogenic properties and links to cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. However more recently, reports suggest that coffee may in fact have beneficial health effects.
Nutritional Benefits: Coffee has more nutritional benefits than we often give it credit for. Given its current popularity, coffee is becoming one of the biggest sources of antioxidants in the western diet, surpassing even fruit and vegetables. It has been shown in many reports for years that antioxidants have numerous positive effects on our health including anti-inflammatory compounds, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, neurological conditions and even cancer.
Improved Brain Function: Caffeine works in our brains by inhibiting certain chemicals and can actually increase neuronal function. This can have many effects to us, but it is strongly argued that it actually helps to improve our mood, memory, reaction and general brain function. Caffeine however is a drug and we must remember this as it is massively addictive. Ask anyone who has listened to the health scares and tried to cut it entirely from their diet. Caffeine is possibly the world's most commonly consumed stimulates, but there are good reasons why we shouldn't give it up.
- Increase Your Power: Drinking coffee for an extra boost in performance has been well documented by Sir Mo Farah. In his autobiography, Mo speaks about drinking coffee as pre-race pick me up. For example, at his 10,000m race at the 2012 Olympics he drank a cup of coffee approximately 20 minutes before the start; but then also a second shot of espresso to get himself “pumped up”.
- Be Bulletproof: The Bulletproof trend follows the recent growth of evidence that this hit of caffeine and a large dose of fats as a meal replacement can have many health positives such as increased focus and reduction in hunger as well fat burning qualities.
- Scientifically Proven: A group of scientists led by Robert Poole in 2017 concluded that coffee caused more health benefits than harm. They found that the “largest risk reduction for various health outcomes at three to four cups a day, and more likely to benefit health than harm”, which is welcome news for all of us coffee addicts. Their study showed that people who drank moderate amounts of coffee were 19% less likely to die of heart disease and 18% less likely to develop cancer, compared to those who did not drink coffee. Other studies also boast an extensive list of benefits including, lower rates of liver cirrhosis, type 2 diabetes, and also a lower rate of developing neurological conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
- All Good Things In Moderation: The general benefits of coffee begins to drop as soon as we consume more than four cups a day. In most cases, it is down to the individual and how much caffeine their body can easily process. If you do find yourself consuming towards the upper limit, ensure that you stay hydrated!
Although I would say for most people 2 or 3 cups of regular coffee is completely fine, let's remember also that when we are talking about a couple of cups of coffee day we are talking about simple black coffee, as soon as we start adding various amounts of sugar, syrups and milk, the negative effect will soon out way these benefits we have discussed. So keep your coffees simple, dark and sugar free!