Focus, Concentration And Cognitive Function
Ask anyone who’s had 1 or 2 cups of coffee as they’re studying for a big exam, or preparing for an important presentation, and they’ll tell you they were able to focus better after they’d drank their coffee. This is because caffeine helps your brain to function more efficiently. Research shows that it also increases your attention span, your ability to reason logically, and dramatically improves your reaction time.
Once you drink that morning cup of Joe, your bloodstream absorbs all that caffeine at which point it travels to the brain. When it reaches the brain, it blocks Adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. That means that your dopamine levels increase, firing neurons boosting your mood, focus, and concentration.
Controlled studies have shown coffee increases brain function, including, reaction times, memory, vigilance, cognitive function, and mood (studies from Université de Nancy).
Coffee Enhances Working Memory
Think of this as a computer’s RAM, which is the processing power your brain is able of. By increasing your working memory, you are less prone to be distracted and this allows you to have a clean flow of energy to the brain. Research has also discovered that those who drink 3-5 cups of coffee on a daily basis had a 65% less chance of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, as they grow old.
We love coffee for its ability to increase energy and relieve the feeling of fatigue. You know that when you’re sluggish or tired, a cup of coffee will perk you up as the degree of rejuvenation you feel after a coffee break is undeniable. Caffeine happens to be the most popular psychoactive substance on the planet.
Benefits For The Heart
An analysis of 36 studies (published in 2013 in the Journal Circulation) on coffee that included more than 1 million study subjects found that those that regularly drank moderate coffee were less likely to develop heart disease. This is just one of a string of studies confirming coffee’s heart friendly effects.
Coffee is now known to be one of the richest sources of nutrition in the western diet. It is loaded with phytochemicals, many of which have potent anti-inflammatory effects. Many diseases relating to the heart are caused by inflammatory conditions, including atherosclerotic blockages and heart disease. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce the incidence of death.
The other benefits of coffee that could positively influence heart health include:
Improves Blood Sugar Control – It is well known that diabetics have higher than average risk of also developing heart disease or suffering from strokes. Coffee reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, in turn reducing the likelihood of suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular system.
Promotes Oral Health – Oral health and heart disease is now established as having a strong correlation, with poor health associated with higher incidence of heart disease. Coffee has the ability to slow down the progression of periodontal disease, and my actually reverse it.
Reduces Risk Of Death After Experiencing A Heart Attack – Though it is touted as primarily having the ability to prevent heart disease in the first place, it was also found that coffee does reduce risk of death from subsequent heart attacks in persons who have already experienced a prior heart attack. This is noteworthy as people who have experienced a heart attack may be much more wary of drinking coffee, though this does not need to be the case.
Fights Cancer – Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death, but coffee can protect you in numerous ways, all backed by solid scientific research.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, several things in coffee make it a likely cancer fighter.
- Chlorogenic Acid: An antioxidant and main phenol found in coffee
- Quinic Acid: The phytochemical responsible for coffee’s acidic taste
- Cafestol: Only found in unfiltered coffee like French press or boiled coffee
- Kahweol: Only found in unfiltered coffee like French press or boiled coffee
- Caffeine: Stimulates the central nervous system
- N-Methylpyridinium (NMB): This antioxidant is created through the roasting process
- Riboflavin: Vitamin B2
Antioxidants, phytochemicals, phenols, and vitamins all play an important role in the body. While the research is still out on exactly how these compounds work within the human system, it is known that they can help reduce the risks of many diseases and cancers.
Breast Cancer – Depending on the type of gene a woman has, drinking at least two to three cups of coffee daily can reduce risks for developing breast cancer or possibly delay its onset (Lund University and Malmö University in Sweden).
Oral Cancer – Oral cancer is reduced by 39% when four or more cups of coffee are consumed a day (American Association For Cancer Research).
Brain Cancer – Both men and women see a 40% reduction in certain forms of brain cancer (Holick, et al, published on The American Association For Cancer Research).
Colorectal Cancer – Researchers at the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of Keck Medicine examined more than 5,100 men and women who were suffering from colorectal cancer and also 4,000 women and men who have never suffered from the diseases (control group). Researchers reported the finding that coffee was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, and the more coffee the subjects drank, the lower their risk became.
Liver Cancer – Scientists report a 41% reduction in liver cancer risk if you drink 1-3 cups of coffee a day (Bravi et al, Meta Analysis study conducted at the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy).
Skin Cancer – Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer (Loftfield, et al, published on The Journal of the National Cancer Institute). Another 20-year study found that women who drink at least three cups of coffee every day reduced their risk of developing skin cancer (Fengju Song, Abrar A. Qureshi and Jiali Han, DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3511).
Uterine Cancer – Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that there is an association between drinking coffee and endometrial cancer risks (Crous-Bou, et al). The scientists found that coffee is a protective factor for uterine cancer as determined from analysis of 19 studies that included approximately 40,000 women, including 12,000 who were diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and 28,000 without a history of the cancer that made up the control groups.
The study’s researchers concluded that the greatest benefits resulted from drinking more than four cups of coffee daily, but even drinking two or three cups reduced risks by 7% as compared to women who drank no coffee at all.
Reduced Risk of Stroke – There has long been a nasty rumor that caffeine increases blood pressure. While it is true, it’s minimal, especially if you’re a regular coffee drinker. That doesn’t mean, however, that coffee increases the risk of various heart diseases. There is evidence that coffee drinking can reduce the risk of heart disease in women, and the risk of stroke by 20% (Oxford Academic).
Reduced Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes – Around 300 million people worldwide are affected by Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that coffee drinkers can reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 50% (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
The explanation, perhaps, between the consumption and coffee and reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease points to chlorogenic acid, as well as other antioxidants. Antioxidants are responsible for mopping up the reactive molecules before they get the chance to harm any sensitive tissue, for instance the blood vessels lining.
The main antioxidant in your morning cup of Joe is chlorogenic acid. Studies suggest that it inhibits the absorption of glucose, evening out insulin levels.
Reduces The Risk of Parkinson’s – The second most common degenerative disease is Parkinson’s. The cause? The death of neurons that generate dopamine inside the brain. Like Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease.
Studies published in The Journal of American Medical Association have shown that coffee drinkers are up to 60% less likely to develop Parkinson’s. However, in this case it’s directly related to the caffeine, as opposed to the coffee itself. Drinking decaf coffee won’t lower your risk of Parkinson’s.
Protects Against Dementia – Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and it generally affects those over 65. There is no cure at this point, however, there are plenty of preventative steps you can take. In addition to exercising and eating healthily, coffee can be effective. Studies from Portugal’s Porto University Medical School have shown that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 65%.
Protects The Liver – The liver handles a variety of important functions throughout the body. There are several diseases that affect the liver, including fatty liver disease, and hepatitis and these diseases can result in cirrhosis of the liver, which is when the liver is destroyed by scar tissue.
Those who drink at least 4 cups of (black) coffee every day can protect their liver from cirrhosis, reducing the risk of liver disease by 80% (Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Oakland).
These 6 Simple Tips Can Cut Calories In Coffee Drinks
1 – Go skinny, use skimmed or non-fat milk
2 – Always pass on creamers and whipped creams, they can add 7 grams of fat and up to 120 calories
3 – Forego sugar. You may love sugar, but if you’re drinking between 3 and 5 cups of coffee every day, those sugars are adding right up. That goes for flavor syrups too, which counts for 70 calories in just one shot. If you must have a flavor choose a sugar-free syrup, or opt for a sweetener instead
4 – Forget chocolate or caramel toppings, they can add 15 calories to your drink
5 – Low-fat milky coffees are a good option simply because they can provide you with 200mg of calcium
6 – Of course your best option is black coffee, plain and simple