We’ve long known that coffee helps us shake off grogginess and stay more alert. But traditionally, most of us have seen coffee as a vice and worried that the amount we were drinking might be harming our health. Recent analysis of years of studies seems to point to the opposite effect: if anything, many of us should be drinking more coffee. There are nutritional benefits of coffee if consumed in the right and balanced ways. Coffee and Health are somehow co-related at some level.
If you look at the Nutrition Information label on a package of coffee, mostly you’ll see zeros. No fat, almost no calories, no vitamins A or C, and no iron or calcium to speak of. At first glance, coffee doesn’t seem to hold much promise as a super-food.
However, coffee is a good source of some nutrients that don’t show up on that label. An 8-ounce cup contains 0.2 mg of riboflavin (vitamin B2), or 11% of the recommended daily intake. A cup of coffee also provides 6%, or 0.6 mg of your daily pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) requirement. It also contains traces of minerals potassium and manganese, providing 3% of your recommended daily intake for both of these.
Coffee is also an excellent source of antioxidants. These compounds fight the damage caused by free radicals, protecting you from cancer, atherosclerosis, and other serious diseases.
Ever wondered why caffeine makes you feel energized? This happens because your brain mistakes caffeine molecules for adenosine, a neurotransmitter that signals you to feel tired. Caffeine blocks the effect of adenosine, keeping you feeling alert and energetic for longer.
This can obviously be taken too far – at some point you have to put down the coffee and actually sleep – but in moderation it appears to have health benefits. It may even prevent the buildup of the plaques that cause Alzheimer’s. There are pros and cons of caffeine that depends exactly on how much you take.
Other Health Benefits
Moderate coffee consumption has been shown to prevent liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer by 80% and 40% respectively. In addition to helping prevent Alzheimer’s, coffee also prevents Parkinson’s disease, the second-most common neuro-degenerative disease. Type II diabetes, heart disease, the list goes on… In fact, coffee has been shown to lower the risk of death from all causes.
Remember that we are talking about coffee, and coffee only. Not, sugar, not cream, and not whatever else it is they put in your Caramel Macchiato. If you’re drinking extra-large espresso-based drinks that contain whole milk, lots of sugar and whipped cream topping, you are counteracting the benefits you might be getting from the coffee with excessive calories.
But isn’t it great to know that something you enjoy as much as coffee doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure after all? For most people, a few cups per day will do no harm, and in fact will probably be doing a lot of good.
Few sources that also claim that Balanced Coffee Drinking is beneficial to health:
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