Have you ever had that thought, after the mornings first (or fourth) cup of coffee, that the addictive, psychoactive substance you just ingested may be doing you more harm than good?
Yeah, me neither.
For most of us, myself included, coffee is a necessary part of life. More than just a beverage, the morning cup is a ritual. It allows us to operate when we’d otherwise be less than functional, on half a nights sleep and whatever you could scavenge from the fridge on the way out the door. Luckily, for the most part research suggests that coffee, when drunk in moderation (looking at you Dave Grohl), is more beneficial than harmful. Which should be enough to calm your nerves on the subject, if not the caffeine induced jitters.
1. CAFFEINE MAKES YOU SHARPER
You know the feeling, about a half hour after that jolt of joe, your mental acuity increases exponentially, allowing you to use words like acuity. It does this by preventing the neurotransmitter, Adenosine, from bonding to its receptor. As a result the pituitary gland begins producing adrenaline (the fight or flight hormone), allowing you to get through that last rep, or hour of work.
A recent John Hopkins study has also shown that caffeine has a measurable effect on long term memory, allowing participants “enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”
2. CAFFEINE PROVIDES A BOOST TO YOUR METABOLISM
Caffeine can increase a person’s metabolism anywhere between 3-11%. A study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that “metabolic rate increased significantly in the three hours after caffeine ingestion.” The effects are multiplies when coupled with exercise.
3. CHOCK FULL O’ ANTIOXIDANTS
A recent study from the University of Scranton (Pa.) has shown that coffee is the main source of antioxidants in most American’s diets, and it’s not even a close race. The second source of antioxidants, black tea, trails behind by a lot. Joe Vinson, Ph.D, the study’s leader, is quoted in a Phys.org article saying that “Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close,” Decaf seems to provide similar anti-oxidant levels.
4. COFFEE LOWERS RISK OF SUICIDE
According to a study by researchers from the the Harvard School of Public Health, the risk of suicide is significantly decreased by ingesting caffeine. An article in the Harvard Gazette on the study says that “the risk of suicide for adults who drank two to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day was about half that of those who drank decaffeinated coffee or very little or no coffee.” Caffeine acts a mild anti-depressant, affecting brain chemistry, and stimulating producing certain neuro-transmitters, including serotonin and dopamine.
5. COFFEE CAN PROTECT YOU FROM A HOST OF DISEASES
Coffee is by no means a miracle drug, but it provides several health benefits. It has shown to lower the risks of Type 2 Diabetes, which makes up most of the diabetes cases in the world. A recent study, published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry shows that people who “drink four or more cups of coffee daily have a 50 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. And every additional cup of coffee brings another decrease in risk of almost 7 percent.”
It also helps protect against Parkinson’s, and protects your liver from your drinking habits (studies have shown that coffee drinking is associated with less instances of alcohol-related liver disease).
So thank you, coffee. Don’t ever leave us.