Misunderstood “Drug” Has Remarkable Health Benefits
Any idea what the most popular drug on the planet is?
Every year, $20 billion of it is sold, often times right down the street from your house.
It’s second only to oil as far as demand is concerned.
And, over 25,000,000 people are directly involved in the production and distribution of this drug!!
I’m of course referring to coffee.
Well, coffee is just the vehicle for the drug caffeine, but you get the idea.
Now, let me be upfront,, I have personally avoided coffee because of its effects on the adrenal glands. I’ll talk about that in detail at the end of the article. But, when consumed in moderation it does have some studied health benefits I think you should be made aware of.
For most of the world, coffee is one of those substances that we have a love/hate relationship with. We hate when we don’t have enough of it, and we love the kick it gives us when we drink it first thing in the morning.
Coffee is one of those things that can have positive and negative effects on your health.
As mentioned, caffeine is a drug. That means you can become dependent on it, and too much of it in your system can really wreak havoc. On the other hand, caffeine isn’t horrible for you. It has actually been proven to help people lose weight…has been shown to reduce the symptoms of certain diseases, and much more.
I want to unpack coffee and show you where its strengths and weaknesses lie, so let’s dive into a “cup o' joe.”
How Can Coffee Be Good For You?
One of the main benefits of coffee is it contains antioxidants.
What you might not know is, coffee starts off as a fruit. Your cup of joe comes from the coffee bean. And, the bean is the seed inside of the coffee fruit.
And like many fruits, coffee contains a wealth of antioxidants.
Coffee’s antioxidant properties come from a combination of bioflavonoids and polyphenols that lend a helping hand when your body is processing the caffeine. This essentially mutes some of the harsher affects of the caffeine while producing some astounding health benefits.
I’m going to list just a handful of those benefits.
1. Helps to fight cancer:
One of the biggest benefits coffee consumption provides is fighting the onset of cancer. Cancer is generally caused by free radical formation, and it’s likely the presence of antioxidants in coffee can effectively fight these free radicals.
Take a look:
- A 2011 a study of over 50,000 men found that men who drank 6 cups of coffee a day had a 60 percent lower chance of lethal prostate cancer than those who drank none.
- Japanese scientists were able to show people who drank coffee almost daily had a 50% smaller chance of developing HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma). This form of liver cancer was much more common in those who never drank coffee.
- And, another study published by the International Journal of Cancer made clear indications that coffee consumption could help to lower colon cancer risk among women.
2. It can help you fight off many chronic conditions caused by inflammation:
Inflammation is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Most people who suffer from chronic inflammation will eventually succumb to all sorts of conditions, and it’s being shown through repeated research coffee can help to fight these conditions.
- Only recently Japanese and German scientists found a link between coffee consumption and areduction in the risk of Type II Diabetes. They were able to find coffee helps to double glucose intake, which can stabilize insulin levels, which helps protect the body from developing Type II diabetes.
- And The Journal of Alzheimer’s disease conducted a study where they noted that a yet to be named ingredient had a special interaction with caffeine that helped to protect the brain. The result was Alzheimer’s formation was kept at bay.
- And in a true testament to coffee’s effectiveness in fighting degenerative diseases, pharmaceutical companies are trying to copy coffee’s chemical make up to help fight Parkinson’s. JAMA reported that coffee could seriously reduce your risk of Parkinson’s.
Look What Else Coffee Can Do
In addition to working against diseases, coffee can also help you in different levels of performance.
For instance, coffee before a workout can help you get a better workout.
Since the caffeine in coffee stimulates the nervous system, your body is primed to do better during an intense workout. What happens is, caffeine causes the nervous system to send signals to break down fat cells in your body. This can help give you more energy.
It will also help to release Epinephrine (Adrenaline), which will give you a slight “high” and triggers your fight-or-flight response.
This one is pretty cool. Coffee also help you fight depression.
As depression usually results from an imbalance of neurotransmitters, coffee’s affect on neurochemistry can give you a boost in terms of your mood.
Harvard was able to show in 2011 that women who had 4 or more cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to be depressed.
And, the Archives of Internal Medicine also made a connection between coffee consumption and suicide risk. Their conclusion was that people who drank 4 or more cups a day were 53% less likely to commit suicide.
And, as I just mentioned, coffee can help you burn fat.
This one should be a great reason to drink coffee.
Here’s how it works.
Several studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can boost your metabolic rate anywhere from 3-11%.
This is why you see caffeine in almost all supplements that are designed to help you lose weight.
When your metabolism is spiked, it means that your body will burn calories at a quicker rate. This is known as the “thermogenic effect”. With coffee, you don’t even need to do anything, the caffeine does all the work for you. There are limitations, however. It was shown that people who were regular coffee drinkers didn’t experience the same pick-up in metabolism as those who drank it infrequently.
Now, with that being said, if you’re drinking coffee that’s loaded with all kinds of sugars, artificial flavorings, milk, and other additives, you can expect those fat burning results to disappear immediately.
The reason for this is sugar will affect your insulin levels in such a way that the caffeine won’t help you lose weight.
So, no, a mocha latte won’t help you trim down.
Some Warnings To Go Along With Coffee Consumption
I wouldn’t be doing you a favor if I didn’t at least talk about some of the issues associated with coffee.
Drink Decaf. If you have a caffeine sensitivity, you might want to shy away from drinking coffee. Decaf alternatives will serve you well, and aside from missing out on the caffeine, you’ll still be getting many of the powerful antioxidant properties when you drink it.
Drink organic. Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet. Farmers use these pesticides to increase yields, so always opt for organic when you can.
Have anxiety? Then I would suggest not drinking coffee, at least not too much. Caffeine can increase irritability and exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety. Test out your tolerance.
Drains your hormones. Again, too much caffeine can have negative affects on hormone levels, in particular, adrenaline and cortisol. When your body uses too much adrenaline throughout the day, you can suffer from what’s known as “adrenal fatigue”. Adrenal fatigue will then throw other hormone levels out of wack, and this can have serious consequences on your health.
This is why I personally don’t drink coffee.
The reliance on caffeine to give you the jolt is one that I’m not particularly fond of. When the adrenal gland is constantly “pinged” by caffeine in the system, it can produce feelings of constant fatigue and tiredness. If you suffer from conditions like Epstein Barr or Chronic Fatigue, DON’T DRINK COFEE.
I would instead work on getting your hormone levels balanced to see increases in energy.
Never with sugar. My stance? Drink it black or with stevia or other low glycemic sweeteners. Don’t use it with dairy, ever. If you need something to cut the bitter taste, use coconut milk. Consider mixing it with dark chocolate (see my article on chocolate here) and stevia for maximum health benefits.
So, there you go.
If you wanted me to justify your coffee craving, I gave you some pretty good legs to stand on.
If you think you drink too much, try weaning yourself off slowly and replace your coffee with water and lemon. That’s what I recommend.