Coffee: More than an Essential Start to your Day
By Dietician: Ashleigh Feltham @feedyourfuturedietetics
You are not alone if life does not begin before your first cup of coffee. The health benefits of coffee have been mixed over the years but with more and more research on this delicious beverage the odds are in favor of coffee.
The ritual of a drink of coffee is pure perfection. This experience is enjoyed in over 2.2 billion cups worldwide daily as the world’s second most consumed beverage in the world after tea. Coffee contains riboflavin, potassium, niacin, magnesium and is abundant in antioxidants and other plant chemicals. Putting all these nutrients aside the main reason most chose this drink the delicious beverage is due to its caffeine content.
Caffeine has an ability to reduce tiredness and improved alertness. It blocks the neurotransmitter in your brain called adenosine and increases the activity of norepinephrine and dopamine. This can improve your mood, cognitive function and reaction time.
A strong study assessing over 12000 studies showed some of the positive effects of moderate coffee intake (3-4 cups of coffee a day) can include:
- Type 2 Diabetes – Coffee drinkers have 2 times reduced risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.
- Cancer – Reduced risk of liver and endometrial cancer. Also mouth, larynx and pharynx. Drinking coffee is not linked to increased risk of any cancer.
- Reduced risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers. Good news Decaff has the same effects showing it may not be the caffeine in coffee but the other nutrients in coffee which may increase your lifespan.
- Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s disease – reduced risk. Those who already have Parkinson’s disease, drinking coffee showed improvements in movement. Reducing muscle stiffness and motor ability.
- Depression- Reduced symptoms.
If you are interested in sport performance, coffee also improves sports performance. It acts as a neuromuscular stimulant; in other words, you can work harder for longer and with more power. Around 3mg/kg body weight is recommended for improvements in performance and taken shortly before an event to gain the benefits.
Not everyone responds to coffee the same and is due to a gene sequence called CYP1A2. Meaning you could be a rapid or a slow responder to caffeine. The rapid responder to caffeine seems to be those who benefit more from using caffeine as a stimulant for performance and health.
If you are in these special groups take note:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding having up to 200mg of caffeine (around 2 cups) is the safest dose to stick to.
- If you have high blood pressure and are not used to drinking coffee, it can lead to even high pressures.
- Too much coffee and caffeine can increase the risk of insomnia (coffee has a half-life of 6 hours), anxiety, jitteriness and can exacerbate panic attacks.
Take home message: Keep enjoying up to 400mg (3-4 cups of coffee) a day as a healthy habit. It will be doing adding to your health with each delicious sip.
At Entire Physio, our staff work hard to stay as up to date with the most cutting edge research they can. To book an appointment with our dietician, Ashleigh, please follow the link below:
Pourshahidi, L.K., Navarini, L., Petracco, M. and Strain, J. (2016), A Comprehensive Overview of the Risks and Benefits of Coffee Consumption. COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY, 15: 671-684. doi:10.1111/1541-4337.12206