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Latest Scientific Research Shows That Coffee Is Actually Good For Your Brain

Latest Scientific Research Shows That Coffee Is Actually Good For Your Brain

There’s been a lot of coffee-related news floating around the Internet lately. Most of the studies cited in news articles attempt to highlight the benefits or risks of consuming caffeine on a regular basis. Is too much harmful to our health? Can just the right amount of it significantly improve the quality of our lives as we age?

We’ve read about evidence of how drinking coffee affects blood pressure, energy, our risk of developing diabetes and even our risk of death. Most experts agree that, like many commonly consumed substances, coffee is pretty good to us in moderation. A new study out of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease now shows us evidence that drinking coffee in moderate amounts is even better for us, our brains specifically, than we originally thought.

What is mild cognitive impairment, and what does coffee have to do with it?

We have all heard of the ageing population or perhaps our own loved ones developing debilitating diseases that affect the way they think and behave. Before developing more severe conditions, however, some develop a cognitive decline called mild cognitive impairment slightly more severe than what is associated with normal ageing, but much less severe than diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

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Mild cognitive impairment develops as a precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to Mayo Clinic, developing mild cognitive impairment actually increases a person’s risk of developing more severe cognitive disorders.

It turns out drinking a few daily doses of coffee can actually reduce a person’s risk of developing these mild problems related to memory, language and thinking.

How do we know? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.

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The study

Researchers studied the relationship between average amount of coffee consumed, either changing or constant, and incidence, or occurrence, of mild cognitive impairment in 1,445 “cognitively normal” subjects aged 65-84 years.

Some participants started out consuming a low amount of coffee per day, one cup or fewer, and increased their consumption to one to two cups per day. Other participants consumed a constant amount of one to two daily cups of coffee for the duration of the study.

Results implied that participants who had a constant habit of consuming one to two cups of coffee per day, or a daily moderate amount, had a reduced risk of developing mild cognitive impairment compared to those who either increased or decreased their consumption.

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What’s the science behind this relationship?

There’s a reason many of us can’t function in the morning without a cup or two of coffee pulsing through our systems. When caffeine enters our bodies, it prevents us from absorbing a certain chemical that normally blocks other excitatory brain chemicals. In much simpler terms, drinking coffee gives us more energy and has the potential to, over time in consistent, moderate amounts, slow age-related mental decline as we get older. With those excitatory brain chemicals free to roam on a regular basis, our brains will most likely remain in much better shape longer than they would if those chemicals remained blocked.

Here’s the key takeaway

The study described above found no association between high or low levels of coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, which means consuming only moderate amounts of coffee per day, one to two cups, had this effect. So if you’re planning to rely on coffee alone to keep your mind sharp as you age moderation, as always, is the best strategy.

Many studies have managed to show us coffee in the morning isn’t the worst possible habit to uphold. What’s important to remember is that too much of a good thing isn’t so good after all – but just the right amount, in this case, can earn you a healthier, clearer mind the older you get.

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Featured photo credit: David Joyce via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 29, 2020

17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

Fitness is not limited to workouts. In fact, your workout is just the beginning. Proper nutrition and supplementation are key components for a well-rounded fitness plan.

This article not only provides healthy nutritional alternatives, but tips on which foods are best before and after a workout.

Before your workout, your body needs calories. Not just any old calories, not empty calories, but calories that will fuel your workout with energy. After your workout, your muscles need replenishment, so it’s just as important to eat not long after exercise.

The following recipes contain essential nutrients: Protein, fat, and carbohydrates. They are not only delicious and nutritious, these recipes will help you burn fat and gain lean mass. Not to mention, they are filling, easy, and don’t require a lot or prep time.

1. 15-Minute Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

    Got 15 minutes? This is a great post-workout meal. It contains Omega-3 oil, protein, potassium, carbohydrates and a host of other nutrients to help replenish those lost during exercise. This Tex-Mex Chicken Salad is courtesy of Registered Dietician Matthew Kadey.

    Check out the recipe here: 15-Minute Tex-Mex Chicken Salad, Muscle & Fitness

    2. Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink

      Think about it. Our bodies lose a lot of water during exercise, leaving us dehydrated. And what’s one of the natural supplements to replace lost electrolytes? Coconut water.

      After a spin class, Crossfit, or HIIT, a Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink is perfect. Chia seeds are full of “good” carbs, mostly fiber, which means your body digests them slowly, keeping your hunger at bay. Bananas contain potassium which helps to curtail muscle cramps. Just blend and go!

      Here’s the recipe from the “Minimalist Baker:” Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink

      3. Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats

        Let’s face it, getting to the gym is hard enough. Who has time to muster up all kinds of ingredients, cook, and consume? Prepare Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats. Full of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates, this filling meal awaits you in the morning.

        The antioxidants in the blueberries will help kick up and spit out free radicals that exists in the body, making way for smooth cellular activity. Prep time: Five minutes!

        Here you go: Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats

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        4. Asian Jalapeno Chicken

          Boost your metabolism! Spicy foods are great for speeding up your metabolism. They contain the almighty chemical, capsaicin, which will shift your body – and weight loss – into high gear!

          If you can take the heat, get this perfect combination of protein and spiciness here: Damn Delicious Asian Jalapeno Chicken

          5. Fat-Burning Chef Salad

            Getting lean can require a lot of discipline for some people, but when you eat tasty foods, like eggs, smoked turkey, and an abundance of greens, your goal is more attainable.

            Certain foods have fat-burning properties, such as turkey breast, tomatoes, celery, broccoli, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, onion, raw vegetables, and many others. Whether you’re getting in shape for a wedding or the beach, this salad will get you ready!

            Check out the recipe here: Fat-Burning Chef Salad

            6. High-Protein Chicken Meatballs

              Protein shakes aren’t the only way to put on mass. It’s always preferable to consume real food as the body digests these more efficiently.

              High-protein meals are best for gaining muscle mass, so if you want to get buffed or toned, a combination of protein, complex carbs, and heavy weight-training will get you there. Get the recipe, then get to the gym!

              Here’s the recipe: High Protein Chicken Meatballs Recipe

              7. Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake

                If you do, however, enjoy the convenience of a protein shake, make your own.

                While it’s tempting to grab a protein bar or ready-to-drink protein shake, these usually contain ingredients which classify them as inflammatory foods. Unless you want to be bloated, steer clear.

                This Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake has a whopping 58 grams of protein, it’s a powerful source of fuel for athletes, and it tastes incredible!

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                Here’s the recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake Recipe

                8. The Best Protein Brownies

                  Not a quick recipe but worth the wait, these melt-in-your-mouth brownies provide just the right amount of protein and “good carbs,” not to mention decadent dark chocolate.

                  So, if you’re the type who skips dessert due to guilt, you can enjoy these brownies with a clear conscience. Don’t forget to complement them with a nice cold glass of unsweetened almond milk.

                  For The Best Protein Brownies, go here: The Best Protein Brownies

                  9. Trainer Terri’s Light ‘N Healthy Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice

                    Yours truly loves Chinese Fried Rice so I came up with a way to remove all of the oily fats and sodium that are typical of this dish while maintaining the flavor. It’s packed with vegetables and healthy carbs, so if you need a little energy before your workout.

                    Try my recipe here: Light ‘n Healthy Chinese Fried Rice

                    10. Stuffed Bell Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables

                      Vitamins A and C are your friends when it comes to maintaining healthy immune system, and bell peppers contain them both.

                      This recipe for stuffed bell peppers is the complete package, with protein, vitamins, metabolism-boosters, Omega-3 oil, antioxidants, and potassium.

                      Check it out here: Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables

                      11. Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples

                        Not getting enough fiber in your diet? If you’re irregular or you often feel hungry, it could be that your body isn’t getting enough of this much-needed nutrient.

                        Soluble fiber, like oats, beans, barley, and even Brussel sprouts digest slowly which keep you from feeling hungry. You are sure to cut back on grazing throughout your day when you incorporate more fiber into your diet. Happy eating!

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                        Here’s the recipe: Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples

                        12. Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad

                          Big on carbs? Try this wonderful medley of green peas, pasta shells, and rotisserie chicken and you’ll be in carbohydrate heaven.

                          Loaded with B vitamins, the green peas will serve as good source of energy. This recipe yields four servings so you’ll have plenty left over for your lunchtime meal at work.

                          Here’s the recipe: Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad

                          13. No-Cook Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                            Not in the mood for carbs? Try these low-carb chicken lettuce wraps that have fewer than 8 grams of carbohydrates.

                            With minimal prep, this meal is great when you don’t feel like cooking. Kids will be so focused on the chicken they’ll forget that it is wrapped in a vegetable.

                            Get the recipe here: No-Cook Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                            14. Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup

                              In the winter months, instead of seeking out a good soup at a restaurant, you can have soup du jour in your own home!

                              Rather than use drugs, like Ibuprofen, turmeric is a natural source of relief to alleviate inflammation in joints and muscles. This anti-inflammatory-detox soup is perfect when snuggling under a blanket while watching a movie.

                              Get the recipe here: Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup

                              15. Almond Snowballs

                                The holidays just aren’t the same without cookies. These Almond Snowballs are yummy as an after-dinner dessert or to share at office holiday parties, or even as a reward after your workout.

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                                This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, a refined carbohydrate, and sugar, both of which have a high glycemic index, causing your blood sugar to spike. These ingredients can be substituted with almond flour which is high in healthy fats and fiber, and Stevia, a sweetener that has zero calories and is plant-based.

                                Get Rachael Ray’s recipe: Almond Snowballs

                                16. Avo-Tahini Toast

                                  Avocado toast has become a healthy trend that is now popularly-featured on restaurant menus.

                                  It only takes four minutes to prepare, unless you add the boiled eggs, which could take another ten minutes but will add protein to this toasty treat.

                                  The Omega-3 fat from the avocado and the fiber from the whole grain bread will leave you satisfied and full. A great pre-workout meal!

                                  Get the recipe here: Avo-Tahini Toast

                                  17. Salmon Salad Sandwich

                                    You’ll look at a fish sandwich differently with this 15-minute meal. Perfect for lunch, this high-protein, high-fiber, Omega-3-rich Salmon Salad sandwich serves four, which is great for a small luncheon with friends.

                                    You can even serve them as hors d’oeuvres for a dinner party by cutting the sandwiches into fourths and pin them together with toothpicks.

                                    Get the recipe here: Salmon Salad Sandwich

                                    Final Words

                                    It is important to consume the aforementioned nutrient-based meals 45 minutes to an hour, both before and after your workout. If not, your body will use muscle for fuel instead of nutrients and, ultimately, you will lose lean muscle mass and become flabby.

                                    There is also the risk of getting light-headed and fainting due to low blood sugar as well as poor brain function, nausea, and, of course, you won’t achieve optimal exercise performance.[1]

                                    Featured photo credit: Christian Kaindl via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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