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Last Updated on January 22, 2021

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 December 18, 2020

    17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

    17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

    Weeknights are wild. There are hobby meetings, sports events, date nights, late-night work calls, kids’ bath time, TV show premiers (of course), and there’s also… dinner?

    Trying to cram in making a recipe, eating dinner (let alone enjoying the meal) and cleaning the kitchen in under an hour always seemed like it would take some sort of divine intervention. Well, let me introduce you to the power pressure cooker, aka the game changer.

    The power pressure cooker makes the impossible possible. You can create a healthy, balanced meal in under an hour from start to finish. Even decadent dishes such as braised short ribs or whole meals such as salmon with potatoes and broccoli can be enjoyed from start to finish with breeze on a weeknight.

    Is there anything easier than throwing your whole meal in one pot and letting the pot do the work? I can’t think of anything. It’s as if you significantly upgraded the already kitchen staple, the crockpot.

    Here are some of my favorite power pressure cooker recipes to get dinner on the table under pressure:

    1. Ramen Soup

      For those nights when all you need is a big hug, ramen is the perfect dish! High in anti-inflammatory ingredients such as fresh ginger, garlic and spinach this 20-minute soup is good for you in every which way.

      This quick ramen is balanced with lean protein from the chicken and soft-boiled eggs, starches from the noodles, and a salty broth that makes you crave more!

      To bump this recipe up even more nutritionally, try doubling the carrot and spinach for extra vitamin power.

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      2. 4-minute Salmon, Broccoli and Potatoes

        What is better than a perfectly balanced meal in just 4 minutes? I can’t think of anything!

        This wonderfully fatty fish blends so well with the super food broccoli and starch of the potatoes that you won’t believe it was done in such a short amount of time!

        Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (aka fish oil) that helps our heart, skin, joints, GI tract, and much more!

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        3. Beef Gyros

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          A warm pita wrapped around freshly made gyros, toppings, and even Tzatziki sauce, oh my! This recipe goes from fridge to plate in under an hour with only 15 minutes of prep time!

          When creating the Tzatziki sauce, be sure to grab plain Greek Yogurt. This yogurt is naturally higher in protein, adding another nutritional benefit to this great dish! You can also opt for a whole wheat pita to add some extra fiber too!

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          4. Shrimp Boil

            This recipe is perfect for summer beach nights, a classic shrimp boil recipe that you don’t have to spend all day preparing! This recipe is fun finger food to the max! It is delicious, satisfying and tastes the best when served on a picnic table.

            To take this recipe to the next level, adjust the proportions of veggies to protein. By increasing the corn and decreasing the amount of Andouille sausage, you can decrease the total sodium and calories while increasing the fiber and vitamins!

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            5. Mexican Quinoa

              The perfect one pot meal with fiber, protein, and lots of flavor! This is a vegetarian and meat-lover dream!

              Quinoa is the perfect substitution for white rice in this classic recipe while complimenting the beans to create a protein filled dish. Plus the addition of all those vegetables creates a meal that is bursting with flavor. Top this Mexican quinoa with fresh avocado to perfectly round it out.

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              6. Lo Mein

                This Lo Mein will stomp any greasy, take-out craving you have without the usual guilt! It is not very often, you can replace a sinful bowl of take-out with something so delicious and easy to make at home!

                Make this Lo Mein in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That’s faster than it takes for the delivery person to show up at the door!

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                7. Whole “Rotisserie” Chicken

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                  Everyone knows that the secret to batch cooking is to have a whole chicken cooked to use in various ways throughout the week!

                  This recipe makes the most perfectly moist rotisserie chicken that can be used as is, for tacos, for soup, and for sandwiches all week long!

                  Tip: keep the bones and scraps to make an amazing chicken stock to have on hand! Cooking the stock longer and at a lower temperature will create a delicious bone broth rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  8. Chicken and Lentil Soup

                    This is the coziest soup around! Rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins, this soup will meet all your cravings!

                    It also couldn’t be easier for a rushed weekday meal, all you have to do is chop and let your power pressure cooker do the work!

                    In just 30 minutes, you will have a warming soup that the whole family can enjoy!

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    9. Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowls

                      Is there anyone out there that doesn’t enjoy a good burrito bowl? This veggie bowl is the perfect one-pot meal that is easily customizable!

                      From vegans to meat-lovers, everyone will enjoy this easy, fiber-rich bowl. Add whatever toppings you please to create a burrito bowl that is just as good as a restaurant’s!

                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                      10. Rice and Beans

                        The classic rice and beans dish is a staple for many reasons. It is full of perfectly complimented proteins, great texture, and balanced seasonings. Now, you can create this filling balanced meal in under an hour! No more pre-soaking those beans!

                        This perfectly seasoned, filling balanced meal will have everyone fighting for another bowl!

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                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        11. Summer Quinoa Salad

                          Your fresh in-season berries were made for this quick salad!

                          Take this nutrient dense salad to a party or serve it as light, summer dinner to have everyone asking for the recipe!

                          The quinoa, fruit, vegetables, and nuts create a dish that is perfectly balanced with all the food groups. You can top this salad with cooked chicken breast or leave it as-is to meet everyone needs!

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          12. Minestrone Soup

                            This Minestrone Soup is quick and veggie full making it perfect for any weeknight dinner! It is rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin A making it the perfect dinner for the whole family!

                            Tip: Use whole grain noodles to increase the fiber and B vitamins of this tasty dish!

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            13. Lemon Garlic Chicken

                              Make your protein and side dish at the same time with flavorful chicken that the whole family will love! In less than an hour, you can have a beautiful and balanced plate with veggies and protein.

                              This flavorful lemon garlic chicken will give you the protein and excitement to spice up any plate!

                              ~ Check out the recipe here!

                              14. Chicken Fajitas

                                Quick, easy and very few dirty dishes are used to create these fajitas that will rival even your favorite Mexican restaurant!

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                                Feel free to top these with whatever you wish but be sure to include fresh avocado for a bump-up in vitamins and minerals.

                                Tip: If you enjoy sour cream on your fajitas, opt for plain Greek yogurt that is higher in protein, lower in calories, and just as tasty!

                                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                15. Coconut Chicken Curry

                                  A big bowl of coconut chicken curry over rice is what dreams are made of! This bright, flavorful dish is full of vegetables and lean protein without the dryness!

                                  What can usually take a few hours, create this colorful dish in just 30 minutes with your power pressure cooker!

                                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                  16. Cashew Chicken

                                    This take-out classic can be on your plate in just 20-minutes but you can pretend you took hours to create it when everyone asks for the recipe! You can double the green bell pepper to increase the veggies without sacrificing any flavor. Serve this classic over brown rice for extra fiber and minerals.

                                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                    17. Meatloaf

                                      Meatloaf has been a menu staple since sliced bread but never did it only take 20 minutes to make! This recipe includes the meatloaf and the sides to create a one-pot dream. Perfect to serve after long weekdays, this dish is a comforting staple.

                                      And don’t be fooled by the short cooking time, this meatloaf is the best of both worlds- it’s juicy and fast to make!

                                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                      Despite its apparent roots in the crockpot concept, power pressure cooker meals are apt to be much healthier. Without the need for fatty sauces to create flavor and prevent dryness, the power pressure cooker uses the heat generated by the water to cook the food. This leads to more flavor without dryness and overall leaner meals.

                                      The power pressure cooker is the answer for anyone striving for healthy, balanced meals with a crazy weeknight schedule.

                                      It really can do it all. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll feel great after enjoying healthy, balanced meals while easily juggling all the activities you enjoy!

                                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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