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5 Ways to Improve Your Health with Coffee

Posted 10-13-2014 05:25 PM by ChristaIB
Updated 10-14-2014 03:59 PM by ChristaIB

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Who doesn't like to wake up in the morning and brew up a cup of Joe? Even if you aren't doing the brewing, your craving for its bold flavor and energy boost doesn't change. Drinking coffee is one of those things that is just a part of life for a majority of people across the U.S. In fact, estimates that approximately 100 million Americans drink coffee every day. Perhaps the act of drinking coffee has been ingrained in us throughout generations. Think back to who first introduced you to coffee. Chances are it was a relative.

Whatever the reality behind our coffee-driven society, it can't be ignored that coffee is more than a bean; it has proven health benefits.

Top 5 Perks Linked to Coffee

1. Reduced stress, happiness – Because some people feel like coffee gives them jitters, it may seem odd to think that coffee can reduce stress. However, it's actually proven to lower stress in certain cases. Researchers at Korea's Seoul National University found that the stress that sleep deprivation puts on the body is reduced simply by inhaling the aroma of coffee. Similarly, the National Institutes of Health found that depression rates went down by 10 percent in people who drank four or more cups of coffee per day.

2. Antioxidants – Antioxidants help the body combat a number of issues related to cellular damage. Coffee has potent antioxidant properties in large enough quantities to make a real difference in your health. In fact, most Americans don't get their recommended daily allowance of antioxidants from their diet, even though they drink coffee. But not all is lost. Keep drinking coffee and you'll have at least some of the antioxidants your body needs—you can supplement the rest.

3. Alertness – It's a well-known fact that coffee will perk you up. Drink too much, and you may feel jittery. In moderation, coffee will stimulate your brain and increase blood flow, making you feel more motivated. Additionally, it will increase concentration and lower your mental fatigue throughout the day.

4. Fighting disease – In people over 65, researchers found that people with higher levels of caffeine in their blood developed degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's' Disease, much more slowly than those who did not consume caffeine. Drink several cups of coffee a day and you may significantly reduce your chances of developing type II diabetes. Researchers also found that women have a lower rate of developing skin cancer if they have three or more cups of coffee a day. If you drink alcohol in excess, coffee may help your body stave off cirrhosis of the liver.

5. Increased sports performance – Although many athletes already know about the performance benefits of caffeine, did you know that it can actually help your body burn energy more efficiently? By increasing the amount of fatty acids in your bloodstream, caffeine may increase endurance by helping your body burn from fat reserves, rather than carb reserves. The results: You can go longer with more energy to burn.

Recommendations for Coffee Drinkers

Despite findings where researchers found that four or more cups of coffee a day could have significant health benefits, experts contend that you can still realize the benefits of coffee by just drinking an average of 2-3 cups per day. The best time of day to have a cup of coffee is in the morning, when most people feel negative or mentally foggy and need the mental clarity. The next best time of day is in the early afternoon, for a pick-me-up during the afternoon slump.

It is warned that drinking more than four cups of coffee per day (or the equivalent of 10 cans of soda) can have adverse effects. More than that can leave you with jitters, upset stomach, muscle tremors and an irregular heartbeat.

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