by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
August is National Coffee Month. Discover the perks of this percolated cup …
The History of a Cup o’Joe
Coffee’s origin dates back centuries, with legends surrounding its first consumption. One thing we know—it was not first enjoyed as a mocha, java-chip, half-caf frap with whipped cream. Coffee beans were eaten before they evolved into beverage form. And we’ve come a long way with that!
Today, coffee is the second most valuable legally traded commodity in the world. (Oil is first.) Its popularity continues to grow, thanks to the introduction of instant coffee and specialty recipes. Additionally, coffee greats like Starbucks make it more than a shot of caffeine but a social experience as well.
A Healthy Burst
About 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily worldwide. How is this drink impacting our health? To ease the minds of this massive, caffeinated population (and, sure, gain strides in medicine), research was dedicated to determining how coffee affects its drinkers. Thankfully, benefits were found and myths were busted.
Studies revealed coffee does not contribute to heart attacks, bone density loss, or cancer as previously feared. It actually can be included in a healthy lifestyle.
Multiple studies show coffee decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicated this protection increased with up to six cups a day. Protection against liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers, and gallstones were additional findings in studies. Some drinkers even notice a reduction in asthma symptoms.
With an increase in overall alertness, coffee also seems to affect the brain in ways that decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the boost in cognitive performance is immediate and long-term. Moderate consumption also is associated with a decreased risk of suicide.
Along with its super-hero ability to bust the “too tired to work out” excuse, coffee delivers other benefits to your fitness routine.
Fat-burning properties. For those wanting to burn fat and lose weight, coffee helps accelerate efforts on the Fitness Floor and in the kitchen.
A cup before your workout causes fat cells to be used as an energy source as opposed to glycogen. Caffeinated coffee, combined with a workout, increases your metabolism for more efficient caloric burn all day. Coffee’s ingredients also are known to suppress appetite, helping you ward off hunger pangs between meals.
More effective workouts. Coffee increases focus as well as energy. The combination translates into a powerhouse on the Fitness Floor. Workouts become more effective and efficient as you challenge yourself to one more rep while mindful of your form and movements.
Studies have revealed coffee’s ability to help athletes (and the average exerciser) train harder and longer than their non-coffee counterparts. The beverage made for quicker run times, higher output, and increased intensity. This can be attributed partly to a decrease in muscle pain during exercise compared to those who did not caffeinate before working out. It’s like hitting a power-boost button.
All things in moderation. Caffeine is addictive so proceed with caution in your consumption. Abruptly stopping the habit can cause headaches. Excessive cups can trigger heart palpitations, insomnia, and jitters. Limit to one or two well-timed cups daily. Otherwise, you risk a post-caffeinated crash, which won’t benefit your workout or your productivity elsewhere.
Despite being a beverage of choice throughout history (eighteenth-century French scholar Voltaire was rumored to have drunk up to 50 cups daily), we still have plenty to learn. One cup of coffee has about 2,000 different compounds. Which of these compounds are responsible for its perks remain unconfirmed. Its large source of antioxidants is known for its protective properties. It is also a source of magnesium, niacin, potassium, and vitamin E.
Researchers continue to study the power of the coffee bean. Whether to stimulate the mind for long prayer sessions as done by our ancestors, or to accelerate fitness results, humankind relies on coffee. Much is accomplished over and after a cup. Let’s drink to that!
“Coffee in Moderation May Offer Health Benefits,” by Shawn Bishop at mayoclinic.org.
“The Caffeinated History of Coffee,” by Tori Avey at pbs.org.
“5 Ways Coffee Intensifies Your Workouts,” at mensfitness.com.
Coffee beans: pixabay.com/en/coffee-cup-coffee-beans-coffee-cup-171653
Coffee hands: pixabay.com/en/coffee-romance-couple-love-1878750