Millions of people depend on coffee to get them going in the a.m. and with the latest research showing the health benefits of drinking coffee, this is good news for 80% of the worldwide population and 90% in North America that drink a cup o’ joe every morning.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Coffee Daily?
Everybody has different opinions about the benefits of drinking coffee. Some health-conscious people even say it's toxic and drains your adrenals. But the experts all agree, based on numerous studies, the benefits of drinking coffee are significant — including a reduction in the risk of some serious diseases, a high antioxidant content, and more. If you're ready to get into the grind, we'll also give you tips on how to make healthy coffee, including the type of beans to use and brewing methods.
1. High In Antioxidants And Nutrients
As far as beans go, coffee is at the top of the list in terms of its high amount of botanical compounds, which are packed with essential nutrients including riboflavin, potassium, and B vitamins. It's also a favorite beverage among nutritionists because of its significant amount of antioxidants. As nutritionist Andrea Dunn, RD, from the Cleveland Clinic points out, "Surprisingly, coffee is the single best source of antioxidants in the American diet." In fact, researchers have found approximately 200 to 550 mg of antioxidants in a cup of coffee, depending on the region where the beans are sourced. For example, compared to coffee fruit grown in China, Arabica beans from Mexico and India have a higher concentration of antioxidants.
2. Boosts Brain Function
What gives coffee its kick is the caffeine, which is one of its most popular benefits, and also the main reason it's been fueling the modern world for hundreds of years. In recent studies, researchers have also found other benefits of moderate caffeine consumption. One report found improvements in cognitive function, particularly with alertness and mental focus.
3. Improves mood
Along with its benefits to the body and cognitive function, coffee is also a great mood stabilizer. In a 2016 study, researchers found that caffeine may help prevent depression and also relieve depressive symptoms such as fatigue, loss of interest, and difficulty with concentration. Women that consumed at least four cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to develop depression. Another related study found a 77% reduction in the risk of depression among men that drank 813 mg of coffee a day.
4. Stimulates Digestion
Coffee is a popular beverage to drink after a meal because it stimulates the muscles in the colon, which in turn, can improve digestion and excretion. A report on the link between coffee and digestion from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee found that drinking coffee daily may be linked to "a reduced risk of chronic constipation."
5. Reduces Risk of Diseases
With so many healthy ingredients in coffee, it's no surprise that drinking it regularly has been shown to decrease the risk of several serious illnesses. Several studies found that daily coffee consumption, including decaf, lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Drinking a daily cup of coffee also lowers the odds of developing neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Coffee even protects against liver cirrhosis, particularly in high-risk people such as alcoholics and those with fatty liver disease.
Another Cuppa Tips
From Iron Flask, makers of the bestselling stainless steel Grip Coffee Mugs, we’ve brewed up some expert info on the benefits of drinking coffee, plus other tips and answers to common questions including but not limited to:
- When is the best time to drink coffee?
- What type of coffee has the most caffeine?
- What is the best coffee to drink when tired?
What Is The Healthiest Way To Make Coffee?
As a reliable morning eye-opener, drinking coffee is an everyday ritual for many — but it can also be extra healthy when you ramp up your caffeine delivery system with a few tried-and-true preparation methods. An easy way to make coffee healthier is to reduce the amount of sugar or leave it out completely. Added sweetener might balance the bitter flavor of coffee, but with links to a long list of serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet.
One way to reduce or eliminate added sugar is to choose quality coffee beans, which have a smooth, balanced flavor and aroma that tastes great with milk or cream. It’s also best to opt for organic coffee. Although the negative health effects of pesticides in food are inconclusive, these synthetic chemicals were never intended for human consumption. Some people with sensitive taste buds even report being able to taste the pesticides in their coffee, another reason to go organic when choosing grinds for your daily brew.
Adding cinnamon to your coffee also levels up not only the flavor but also the health factor. Compared to the Cassia variety, Ceylon cinnamon contains a higher amount of antioxidants that may reduce your risk of serious conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
How Much Coffee Is Healthy?
Philosophers often say it's good to believe in something, and for coffee drinkers, it’s as simple as believing they will have another cup of coffee. But how many cups of coffee a day is healthy? Among the numerous studies showing the benefits of drinking coffee, the amount was always in moderation, a general guideline also recommended by medical experts. More specifically, according to nutritionists from Mayo Clinic, the average adult should consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day.
Although everyone has a different caffeine threshold, consuming more than the recommended daily intake can cause non-life-threatening — but very annoying — symptoms like headaches, restlessness, racing heart, or anxiety. They also advise pregnant or breastfeeding women to limit their use of caffeine or switch to decaf.
When Is The Best Time To Drink Coffee?
Coffee contains a significant amount of caffeine, which is a stimulant, so it's common sense to drink a cup when you need to be awake and alert, such as first thing in the morning. Nutrition expert Amy Richter, RD, recommends a cup of coffee mid to late morning for peak daytime performance. This is due to different cortisol levels in the body, which regulate bodily function such as metabolism and blood pressure, along with keeping you alert and focused. Cortisol levels are at their highest about 30 minutes after you rise and shine and then dip back down a few hours later. Since caffeine boosts cortisol levels, it's better to drink your coffee a few hours after waking up so you'll have longer-lasting energy from the caffeine.
Caffeine also speeds up digestion, making it a great beverage after a meal. But be careful with evening coffee if you’re sensitive to the effects of caffeine and don't want to lose any sleep. The stimulating effects of caffeine can last three to five hours, which is why you should avoid coffee for at least six hours before bedtime. Switch it up with decaf or herbal tea or you might be tossing and turning when you should be snoozing.
Another peak time to drink coffee might be before working out. A research review found that drinking coffee before a workout can enhance athletic performance, including reduction of exercise fatigue and a boost of muscle strength. To get the most mileage out of coffee's potential workout boost, try drinking a cup about 30 minutes to an hour before working up a sweat.
Should You Drink Coffee On An Empty Stomach?
Research into the effects of coffee on an empty stomach is limited and inconclusive, so it's best to listen to your body and how you feel. As Stefani Sasso, registered dietitian for the Good Housekeeping Institute, explains, "When it comes to nutrition, there is really no one-size-fits-all approach. No one knows your body better than you do. Tolerance to coffee, and really any other beverages or foods, is very individual." If coffee on an empty stomach upsets your digestion, it might be a good idea to change your habits by adding some nutritious breakfast meals into the mix.
How Much Caffeine Is In One Cup Of Coffee?
The amount of caffeine varies, depending on the type of coffee beverage. The best coffee to drink when tired is a regular cup of coffee brewed in a standard coffee machine, which has 80 to 100 mg of caffeine, a significantly higher amount than other caffeinated drinks like instant coffee and green tea. In comparison, a cappuccino with one shot of espresso contains less caffeine at 63 mg. For more information on caffeine in other beverages, check out our blog, Coffee vs Tea: Which is Better for Your Health?Now that we've spilled the beans on the benefits of drinking coffee and other tips on the healthiest brewing methods, it’s time to grind them to perfection for a freshly brewed cup of heaven.