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Last Updated on March 29, 2018

20 Health Benefits of Coffee (And How to Get the Maximum Benefits of It)

20 Health Benefits of Coffee (And How to Get the Maximum Benefits of It)

Coffee often gets a bad rap, based on everything ranging from its caffeine content to the stains it leaves on your teeth. But the truth is that the benefits to this beverage far outweigh many of the perceived negatives associated with it. What’s often overlooked is the fact that coffee is so much more than just caffeine.

In its original form, it’s a whole food that contains a plethora of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. The key is knowing where to find high-quality coffee and how to avoid losing any of its health benefits by decreasing its nutrient content or adding harmful substances, like artificial ingredients.

Let’s look at the amazing health benefits of coffee in this article.

Health benefits of coffee (that will also make you happier)

1. Help you burn more calories

In one Spanish study, athletes who drank the equivalent of 12 ounces of coffee before working out burned roughly 15% more calories for as much as three hours after exercising.[1]

Even if you don’t work out, drinking coffee has also been proven to boost your metabolism by 10 to 20%, for those who drink one to two cups per day. As a result, you can burn some calories (and even help you to lose weight if you’re on a diet and do exercises.)

2. Improve your circulation

Drinking a five ounce cup of coffee has been proven to cause a 30% boost in capillary blood flow according to a Japanese study.

This level of increased blood circulation results in better oxygenation of your body’s tissues which has a number of benefits, such as improved performance in physical activities.

3. Have a pain-reducing effect

Research from the University of Illinois determined that two to three cups of coffee can decrease participants’ perceived level of pain, in this case following a workout.

These findings were repeated in a University of Georgia study where participants reported a 48% decrease in muscle soreness, vs. 30% and 25% with naproxen and aspirin, respectively.

4. Improve your endurance

Not only can coffee decrease your perceived level of pain during physical exertion, it can also decrease your perceived level of exertion. By reducing the amount of energy you feel, you’re expending (by more than 5%), and your exercise actually feels easier.

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As a result, drinking coffee before working out can improve exercise performance by more than 11%, since you feel like you’re exerting less energy.

5. Help preserve your muscle tissue

When you drink coffee, your brain releases a substance called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which supports the powerhouse of your muscles. Without this essential factor, muscles are more likely to experience atrophy.

Essentially, the caffeine in coffee helps stave off age-related strength loss which can also reduce your risk of injuries.

6. Make you smarter

Caffeine in coffee induces feelings of alertness and increased energy as a result of its interactions with adenosine receptors in the brain.[2]

This causes an improvement in various areas of brain function such as reaction times, vigilance, and general cognitive function.

7. Improve your memory

Another important brain function supported by coffee consumption is enhanced memory.

Drinking two eight-ounce cups of coffee per day has been proven to improve long-term memory.[3]

8. Lower your risk for depression

Coffee has also been linked to a lower rate of depression, especially in women. Those who consume as many as four eight-ounce cups per day have been found to lower their depression risk by as much as 20%.

This lowered risk is due to the fact that coffee also has an impact on the production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

9. Reduce your risk of some cancers

So far, coffee has been linked to a lowered risk for both liver and colorectal cancer, the world’s third and fourth most common cancers.

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Coffee drinkers appear to be at a 40% lower risk for liver cancer and a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer if they drink four to five cups per day. Links have also been found between coffee drinkers and a lower risk of basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

10. Reduce your risk for heart disease

Studies over the years have claimed that consuming caffeine can increase your blood pressure. While this is true, the effect has been determined to be quite small and generally only present in those who don’t drink coffee regularly. There is no study found to support the idea that coffee increases the risk of heart disease.

However, evidence shows that coffee can reduce the risk of heart diseases in some individuals, particularly in women. Coffee drinkers are also at a 20 percent lower risk of stroke.[4]

11. Protect your liver

In addition to preventing cancer of the liver, coffee has also been shown to prevent other common diseases affecting the liver, such as hepatitis and fatty liver disease.

Coffee can protect against cirrhosis of the liver, where the organ is majorly damaged by scar tissue, by as much as an 80% lower risk in people who drink four or more cups each day.

12. Helps to combat gout

Gout is a condition caused by an increase in uric acid in the blood. Men who drank four to five cups of coffee a day had a 40 percent lower relative risk of gout compared to men who didn’t drink coffee.[5]

Decaf coffee also modestly lowered gout risk

13. Help you obtain numerous nutrients and antioxidants

Coffee has been found to contain a tremendous amount of antioxidants. In fact, many people in Western culture get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from fruits and vegetables combined.

Other important ingredients include riboflavin (11% of the RDA), potassium (3%), magnesium and niacin (2% each). These amounts are increased if you drink more than one cup per day.

14. Lower your risk of type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is an affliction that currently affects around 300 million people across the world. Coffee drinkers have the ability to reduce their risk with every cup of coffee they drink.

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Results from various studies seem to indicate around a 7% reduction in risk for every cup consumed, with the heaviest coffee drinkers lowering the risk by as much as 67%.[6]

15. Make you more energetic

This benefit seems pretty obvious. It’s the reason many people turn to their morning cup of coffee.

There’s no doubt coffee can give you that extra boost you need, especially when you’ve had insufficient sleep. This is due to the caffeine which acts as a stimulant that helps you feel more alert and focused. It also gives you a boost in energy and helps you keep going when you’re low on stamina.

You can even boost your productivity if you drink coffee strategically, here’s how: How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

16. Lower your risk of Alzheimer’s

Studies at both the University of Miami and the University of South Florida have found a proven link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk in dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is one type.

In fact, those who consumed around three cups each day were also 65% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Coffee drinkers also have a lower risk, around 32 to 60%, of developing Parkinson’s disease, another top neurodegenerative disease.

17. Make you feel less stressed just by smelling coffee

Researchers at the Seoul National University found that sleep-deprived rats who were exposed to the scent of coffee experienced a decrease in brain proteins that cause stress.[7] It’s worth noting that this reduction in stress was tied specifically to stress resulting from sleep deprivation.

That’s a piece of good news for those who don’t prefer the taste of coffee.

18. Make you feel happier

Being happy is healthy, right? And for those who love coffee, there’s nothing better than that familiar warmth and taste that gets you going each morning, or any time of the day.

19. Help you live longer

While it’s uncertain in exactly what ways drinking coffee lowers your risk of death, there definitely seems to be a correlation.

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Research performed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) determined that people who drink three or more cups each day are at a 10% lower risk of death. Perhaps the most important ramification of this study is that drinking coffee does not seem to adversely affect your health, as earlier research seemed to indicate.

20. Promote sustainability

Recent years have seen the increasing popularity of fair trade coffee which protects small coffee farmers worldwide.

As fair trade organizations work to improve farmers’ rights and earning potential, they also promote social, economic, and environmental sustainability. They encourage shade-grown and organic coffee, part of what makes the beans grown in places like Costa Rica superior to those you might get from larger commercial distributors.

Any potential risks of drinking coffee?

There are a few important factors you should consider if you want to enjoy the benefits of coffee:

  • Since many of these benefits are directly linked to the caffeine in coffee, you won’t get the same perks from decaf. You can also decrease the health benefits by adding things like artificial sweeteners and creamers.
  • While coffee can certainly help you resist fatigue, drinking it in excess can lead to adrenal exhaustion.
  • Coffee is also a diuretic. Drinking too much of it can result in dehydration.

As you can see in the following infographic, coffee can be both an angel and evil. If you’re not drinking too much of it, it can cause negative results:[8]

    You can find out more about the side-effects of drinking too much coffee in this article: What Drinking Coffee Does to You

    How to get the maximum benefit from coffee?

    To get the maximum benefit from your coffee, opt for whole coffee beans and grind them right before you’re ready to brew your coffee. Black coffee is recommended if you want to experience more of the benefits.

    You’ll also want to go with organic coffee beans since those that aren’t pesticide-free are often among the most heavily-sprayed crops in existence.

    The best way to find beans that are free of chemicals is to look for the 100% Organic seal or visit a local coffee farm and buy them directly from the grower. Your taste buds and your health will thank you.

    Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via kaboompics.com

    Reference

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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