To most of us, coffee is the nectar of the gods, just under oxygen and water as substances vital to survival.
But just in case you need any extra justification for drinking a couple of cups per day (besides “it’s delicious” and “it makes me more tolerable to be around in mornings”), here’s a quick rundown of coffee’s health benefits. We recommend brewing a cup and drinking it out of your stainless steel insulated travel mug while reading this, just to get a jump start on your health.
Coffee Makes You Smarter
Tell us if this has happened to you before: you stumble into the office, open your email, and gaze in a stupor at the dozens of messages you can’t even begin to process. After a cup of coffee, however, you feel like you’re firing on all cylinders as you tackle tasks quickly and efficiently.
Thank your caffeine for that mental boost. The caffeine in coffee travels through your bloodstream into your brain, where it blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter and increases the amount of other neurotransmitters. Translation? Caffeine literally helps your brain fire up.
Studies have shown that drinking coffee boosts various brain functions, like memory, mood, energy levels, and reaction times. So, make sure to drink a cup before you sit down with the Sunday New York Times Crossword.
Coffee Helps Defend Your Brain
On a similar note, drinking coffee may lower your chances of getting neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. While there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s (which is the leading cause of dementia), coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease also has no known cure, and it’s caused by the death of neurons that generate dopamine. Studies have shown that coffee drinkers reduce their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by anywhere from 32-60%.
One thing to note: decaf doesn’t seem to have the same effect, so scientists attribute these lower risks to caffeine specifically, although the exact connection is still unclear.
Coffee Burns Fat and Boosts Your Workout
Step away from the bogus ab trainers hawked by reality TV stars and just sip your coffee instead. Caffeine is one of the few natural substances in the world that helps burn fat. In fact, studies have shown that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%.
Plus, caffeine increases adrenaline levels in your bloodstream, priming the “fight or flight” instincts that get you ready to run (literally). Finally, caffeine spurs your fat cells to break down body fat so that they enter your bloodstream as fuel — meaning it’s a good idea to have a cup of coffee an hour or two before your workout.
Coffee Reduces Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes affects over 300 million people worldwide, but somehow, coffee drinkers (decaf and caffeinated alike) have a seriously reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In one humungous review that examined 18 studies of nearly 460,000 people, each daily cup of coffee was correlated with a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A word of warning here: skimp on the sweeteners and creamers. Black coffee will be better for you in the long run.
Coffee Has Tons of Antioxidants
You probably thought antioxidants were only in those “superfoods,” like berries, nuts, dark green veggies, and sweet potatoes. In fact, coffee has tons of antioxidants, and that’s where Americans get most of their antioxidants (mostly because we drink so much of it, but hey, whatever gets the job done).
What are you waiting for? Brew a cup of coffee and drink it from your vacuum insulated stainless steel travel mug while toasting to your good health. We’ll be over here doing the same thing.