~Caffeine~ The good, the bad and the healthy?
When your to-do list has chapters, when you have to be up at 5am, when you are totally swamped, most of todays population tends to gravitate towards one thing... Coffee. About 83% of adults turn to or drink at least 1 cup of coffee per day according to the National Coffee Association (Yes, this association exists!) It seems to be not only the drink of choice to get us through rough times, stressful moments or long days, but its also been touted as some what of a "health" product.
October.1st is International Coffee Day! It has become a day used to promote and celebrate coffee as a beverage, with events now occurring in places across the world. The first official date for this day was declared on October.1 in 2015, as agreed by the International Coffee Association.
Its a comforting warm beverage and simply the taste for some, but for most its the caffeine, energy boosting affects of coffee of which most people turn to first thing in the morning or even mid day. Its an afternoon pick me up in the work world, or a late night study session for a major exam in the student world.
Coffee is in fact one of the world's most popular beverages. Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, it also seems to be quite healthy to a certain extent. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. In my opinion, I think if you had to choose between coffee or an energy drink (Monster, Red Bull) I would highly recommend and suggest a good old cup of joe over a fizzy energy drink any day. However, even though this still isn't optimal for the body to rely on, there are some health benefits to drinking coffee.
There are many factors that come into play when we talk about the health benefits of caffeine. While caffeine comes in many shapes and forms, I like to look at the quality over quantity on this one to reap its rewards. I think we need to consider where the coffee has been processed (organic or not) Are there any added fillers such as un-natural flavourings? Are you adding sugar and creamers or managing a cup of black coffee? Below are just some of the health benefits a good, quality cup of coffee may provide:
1. Energy, Memory and Mood, oh my!- Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. Thats a given. But thats only because it contains the stimulant we all know and love called Caffeine. After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it travels to your brain. Many controlled studies in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function. This includes memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function. For more information on effects of caffeine on you as an individual, I highly recommend checking out Mind Body Lab in Victoria BC:
2. It can assist in weight loss- Caffeine is one of the few natural substances proven to aid in fat burning. Several studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3–11%! Although lets be clear here too that coffee alone does not cause fat loss. By exercising regularly and adding caffeine to our diets, this is essentially what increases your metabolism and your "fat burning". When we move our bodys aerobically, our systems take fat out of storage and put it to use. Caffeine increases the ability to work out for a longer period of time, thus resulting in your body being able to take in more oxygen and this means more fat can be oxidized.
3. Contains Essential Nutrients- This is actually one of my favourite facts about a good quality cup of coffee! Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed coffee. A single cup of black coffee contains Vitamin B12, B5 and B3. It also contains high amounts of Vitamins A, C and E which are also known as antioxidants. These vitamins are essential for fighting off colds, flus and help keep our immune systems strong.
Although there are many good things about a good cup of coffee, there are however a few not-so-good things to consider as well. When consuming coffee, we need to understand that moderation (with anything in life!) is still important. All of the above benefits are true. But only to the extent of a few exceptions. Some potentially harmful side effects with too much caffeine consumption include adding sugar and creamers to your coffee. Dairy is considered a fat and when we mix fat and sugar together, it unfortunately equals a recipe for havoc in the human body. Consuming coffee with too much added creamers and/or sugar could be contributing to that growing waistline, even though everything else in your life checks out as far as eating clean and exercising. Another factor includes dehydration. Yes, coffee is mostly water, but lets not forget that its also considered a diuretic. Small amounts (1-2 cups per day) isn't something to be too concerned about, but caffeine acts as a diuretic by increasing blood flow through your kidneys, thus leading for the need to urinate more frequently. I think its important to always make sure for every cup of coffee you choose to consume, you should also consume 2 cups of water with it or after.
All in all, coffee is neither good or bad for our health. Its simply an added bonus I think to our daily lives if we choose to enjoy it. As with anything in life, its all about moderation. Consuming 1 or 2 quality cups of coffee per day either black or with a non dairy milk and non artificial sweetener such as stevia can be beneficial. I think consuming anything over 3 cups of coffee per day however with milk and sugar has its downfalls and may not contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Whatever you choose, enjoy it to the fullest! I think life is about living, learning and growing and if that means waking up to your favourite caffeinated beverage, then go for it. Always be mindful in your choices, think of ways to use alternatives such as almond milk for dairy, stevia for sugar or find a local, organic coffee shop and support that.
For a great quality cup of coffee, I recommend trying Coffee Over Cardio:
Use the code "10livewellchanel" to get a discount on any purchase from Coffee Over Cardio! They have incredible flavours of coffee, creamers and more!