Coffee: the early-riser’s elixir, and the night-owl’s aid. It’s a seemingly magical drink that can change our energy levels within as little as 20 minutes of drinking it, but, thanks to the caffeine, we look for cup number two (then three, then four) as soon as our first is finished.
If you can’t go through your day without coffee, you’re not alone. While not all agree, some sources report that coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. That is a lot of caffeinated people.
Beyond what we like or even love about coffee, there is an ongoing debate about whether coffee is good for us or not. Some studies warn us about caffeine addiction and caffeine overdose, while others tells us how coffee can greatly benefit our health and even increase our longevity. So which side is arguing the truth? In short, both.
How Much is Too Much?
In certain quantities, coffee can be beneficial to our health in multiple ways. But just like almost everything else in this world, if we have too much of it, the benefits become irrelevant.
Most researchers agree that 400mg of caffeine a day is safe for most adults. This is about the same amount of caffeine as is found in four cups of regular coffee. If you go beyond this amount of caffeine in a day, you could have uncomfortable side effects such as jitteriness, insomnia, upset stomach, headache, tachycardia or fast heartbeat, and more.
The good news is, if you stay at four cups of coffee a day or fewer, the benefits could be many!
The Benefits of Coffee
Below are some of the greatest benefits that coffee can offer.
1. Coffee can improve mental alertness
Caffeine won’t just make you stay awake. The caffeine in coffee can actually improve memory, cognitive function, and performance. When study participants were given a set of tasks to do, before and after consuming caffeine, they were able to perform the tasks much better than those who were given a placebo.
2. Coffee can boost metabolism.
If you are a coffee novice, this might be particularly beneficial for you. Studies show that drinking coffee can boost resting energy expenditure by 3-11%. This is especially true right after consumption. As a plus, it is one of the few natural substances actually proven to target fat burning.
3. Coffee can boost athletic performance.
Caffeine increases adrenaline excretion, which can help you react quicker and with more intensity. This could be a big plus in the gym to make the most out of your workout.
The fat that caffeine helps to break down also releases free energy into the blood, making it harder for you to get tired, and boosting physical performance by up to 12%.
4. Coffee may lower your risk of developing diabetes.
While researchers don’t exactly understand yet what mechanism of action in coffee drinking affects the development of diabetes, a connection has been found. One of the studies found that people who drink at least 3 cups of coffee a day could have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and the reason cannot be explained by the effects of magnesium, phosphorus, caffeine, or blood pressure effects.
You don’t have to feel guilty for drinking coffee, as long as you control the quantities with which you consume it. In fact, if you stay at a maximum of four cups a day, the benefits could range from carrying out more effective workouts to improving memory.
How much coffee do you consume in a day?
Image Credit: Mandy Martini