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20 Wonderful Health Benefits Of Coffee

20 Wonderful Health Benefits Of Coffee

You might not know this but I’m a bit of a coffee addict (and that’s putting it lightly). Therefore, I literally jumped at the chance to write an article highlighting all of the awesome things that coffee can do for you health.

It seems like every day or so there’s a new report on the news granting some new magical property to coffee, and thus is can be a bit difficult to keep track of all of them. Therefore, I am going to lay out a bunch of the most significant ones in this list. That way, you’ll be able to save this link and have easy access to a list of coffee health benefits whenever you need it! (It should be especially handy during those times when you have to convince folks that it’s totally reasonable to be on your third cup of coffee before noon)/

Before we begin, stow away all of those preconceived negative notions you have towards the coffee bean. Trust me, it won’t stunt your growth or anything like that. If anything, after reading this you’ll be wishing that you started drinking coffee earlier!

To start, coffee is great because…

1. It could lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

You might think that coffee harms your heart more than it helps it, especially since your heart beats a bit faster when you’re hyped up on caffeine. The truth, however, is that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day reduces your chances of acquiring heart disease.

And, even if you drink more than five cups a day, you’re chances of having a heart attack are no higher than those who don’t consume coffee at all.

2. It bolsters your brain cells.

As a stimulant, coffee enables your brain to produce more dopamine and adrenaline than usual.

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This can have a number of positive effects, such as improving your memory and reaction times. In college, I remember hating morning tests…until I started guzzling down a cup of coffee before going to class. While under the effects of caffeine, my test scores improved measurably. It puts the pep in your step you need to get going.

3. It negates the effects of sleep deprivation.

This one might seem obvious, but you might be surprised by just how powerful of an effect coffee can have on a drowsy individual. Indeed, it’s so effective that the mere smell of coffee beans is enough to give most folks a slight energy boost.

4. It adds years to your life.

There are some well-documented side effects to coffee consumption that keep many from trying it. These can include anything from the “jitters” to the headaches we coffee connoisseurs get when we don’t get our caffeine fix.

That said, research out of Harvard has found that those who stay caffeinated could live longer lives than those who abstain from it. The study also concluded that the dreaded side effects of frequent coffee consumption have inconsequential effects on the body in the long run. So sip away!

5. It decreases your chance of having a stroke.

Similar to heart disease, consuming two to six cups of coffee a day has been found to lower one’s risk of having a stroke. You don’t have anything to lose!

6. It makes you run faster.

Simply put, drinking coffee before a workout allows your muscles to better convert your fat to fuel, meaning you’ll feel more energized. Personally, I’ve noticed that I can run about a mile more than usual when I drink coffee about an hour before starting my workout routine.

7. It helps you burn fat.

Let’s face it: it’s summer, so we all want to look good in a bathing suit. What better way to do that than to shed a couple pounds? Coffee can help you reach your weight loss goals, as seen by a study where green coffee extract was found to be a significant factor in assisting several “pre-obesity” test subjects reach a normal weight.

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8. It substantially lowers your risk for type II diabetes.

With our increased consumption of sugary products over the years, we’ve seen the number of cases of diabetes skyrocket. Luckily, you might be able to protect yourself by drinking a few cups of unsweetened coffee a day.

Indeed, studies have found that coffee consumption greatly reduces one’s risk of acquiring type II diabetes. For every cup of coffee a day that test subjects consumed, researchers found that their chances of getting diabetes went down by 7%. (If you currently sweeten your coffee a lot, simply start with just a little less sugar per day and work your way down).

9. It fortifies your mind against diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

While coffee certainly has short-term mental benefits, it might also prove to be great for your brain in the long run as well.

Indeed, frequent coffee consumption has been shown to greatly lower the risk of acquiring degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

So if you’re wondering why your great-grandmother is still sharp as a tack, ask her if she’s a coffee drinker!

10. It can replace your daily facial scrub.

Ok, so maybe it won’t replace it entirely, but coffee grounds do in fact work extremely well as an exfoliant. By mixing fresh or used coffee grounds with coconut or olive oil, you can create a paste that works similarly to most store brand facial cleansers. You’ll smell great afterwards too!

11. It drastically improves the quality of your naps.

I wrote all about “coffee naps” in a previous article, so check that out if you want an in-depth rundown of what that entails. To put it succinctly, drinking a cup of coffee right before a nap will make you feel much more energized afterwards compared to if you took a nap without drinking coffee beforehand.

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It might sound counter-intuitive, but trust me, it works!

12. It can hold off Father Time.

Not only can coffee be used to make you look younger, but it can make you feelyounger as well. Indeed, scientists have discovered that consumption of coffee helps your body fight off all of the typical effects of growing old, such as declining reflexes and deteriorating memory.

13. It makes your hair shine.

Interestingly enough, coffee grounds can make your hair appear shinier by exfoliating the individual hair strands, stripping away any grime or old hair-care product stuck on them. Just don’t do this if you have lightly colored hair…coffee can stain your locks if you aren’t careful!

14. It combats depression.

Coffee is so filled-to-the-brim with antioxidants and other chemicals (like caffeine of course) that it’s nearly impossible to get down on yourself while drinking the stuff. Indeed, the National Institute of Health found that people who drink four or more cups a day are 10% less likely to become afflicted by depression.

15. It does great things for your liver.

Maybe this is the reason people tell you to drink coffee when you have a hangover? Speculation aside, coffee has been found to decrease your chance of being afflicted by cirrhosis of the liver by up to 80%. Those who drink four or more cups of coffee a day were found to have the biggest defense against liver disease.

Not only can coffee combat the effects of alcohol on your liver, but it has also been found to reduce the risk of liver cancer by up to 40%.

16. It can make you more social.

When people drink a lot of alcohol at parties, they’re usually doing so to reduce their inhibitions, and thus be more open to social interaction. Well, I’ve found that coffee makes you just as talkative as alcohol, withoutall of the downsides associated with the latter. (Seriously, I’ll talk your ear off if you give me a good latte!) And in my mind, this is definitely something that benefits your health, because even an introverted person like me feels better when they’re able to more easily open up to friends and acquaintances!

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Oh and not to mention, most people get their coffee from a shop populated by a bunch of people, which is sure to lead to some nice random interactions.

17. It prevents eye disease.

Scientists have found that drinking coffee decreases one’s chance of experiencing vision loss and acquiring eye diseases like glaucoma, thanks to an extremely powerful antioxidant present in coffee.

So put the carrots aside…if you really want to protect your eyesight, grab a mug filled with coffee instead!

18. It shields you from skin cancer.

While you shouldn’t stop applying sunscreen or taking other precautions just because you drink coffee, you can also rest easier knowing that consuming your favorite caffeinated beverage daily reduces your risk of acquiring melanoma.

19. It makes your pains go away.

I’m not being metaphorical or anything. Coffee literally alleviates some of your physical pains, much like ibuprofen or other pain medications, as seen by this study. Seeing all of the other health benefits of drinking coffee listed above, it should come as no surprise that it’ll make your entire body will feel better as a result.

20. It simply makes every morning better.

Well, there really isn’t much more for me to say. Coffee just makes your mornings better! You now know that coffee has a bundle of health benefits, ranging from improving your intellect, to lowering your risk of acquiring a number of different diseases.

The last point I’ll touch upon is more intangible than the others, and comes from my personal experience of being something of a coffee addict. There’s just something about waking up, brewing a good cup of coffee, and enjoying the sunrise. While this feeling I get isn’t a measurable health benefit, per se, it is something that keeps me coming back to my favorite mug day after day. And, along with all of the other reasons listed here, it’s why I continue to be a dedicated member of club caffeine to this day! Would you care to join me?

Featured photo credit: Columbia Coffee/McKay Savage via flic.kr

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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