Health Benefits of Coffee

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We often start our mornings with a cup of coffee to prepare for a busy day ahead, but are there hidden health benefits beyond the caffeine buzz? People who drink coffee have fewer instances of heart disease and stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Type II diabetes.

Coffee is full of antioxidants. Antioxidants release oxygen to neutralize free radicals and help prevent damage to your cells. Coffee also contains minerals like magnesium and chromium that help control insulin and blood sugar. Coffee is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids (27 milligrams per ounce). Omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are essential for maintaining brain health, healthy skin and bones and supports your metabolism.

Coffee is a proven performance enhancer. It’s the caffeine that boosts athletic endurance and performance. So powerful, that until recently, caffeine was listed as a “controlled” substance by the International Olympic Committee. Two cups of coffee before your workout will help you run faster, last longer and be stronger in the gym.

Coffee boosts your metabolism and promotes weight loss. Thanks to its caffeine content, coffee is a stimulant that can give your metabolism a boost helping with weight loss and energy levels. Many commercial over-the-counter weight loss aids list caffeine as a primary ingredient.

Coffee drinkers have a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Researchers have discovered that regular coffee drinkers are less likely to develop Parkinson’s when compared to non-drinkers. While another study found that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day reduces the incidence of dementia by 65 percent. Moderate coffee drinkers (2 cups per day) are considerably less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than light coffee drinkers or those who do not drink coffee.

Coffee may reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke. A 2010 Swedish study of women who drink one to five cups of coffee daily found that the subjects may be cutting their heart disease and stroke risk by as much as 25%. While women who don’t drink coffee may actually be increasing their stroke risk. The study involved 35,000 women between the ages of 49 and 83 during the years 1998 to 2008. Researchers concluded that coffee reduces inflammation, reduces oxidative stress and lowers insulin resistance, helpful when lowering heart attack and stroke risk.

Coffee may reduce your risk for Type II diabetes. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Health found that men who drank six 8 oz. cups of coffee lowered their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 50 percent while women who drank two to four cups could reduce their risk by 30 percent. Coffee contains cafestol which increases insulin secretion, reduces fasting glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity.

Cautions. Like any food or beverage, coffee should be consumed in moderation. A few cups a day may provide natural health benefits, too much coffee can cause heart arrythmias, increased blood pressure, constipation or diarrhea, indigestion and heartburn. Pregnant women who drink large amounts of coffee may be at higher risk of miscarrying. Coffee is also a strong diuretic that will increase your need to urinate frequently.

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