Health: Benefits of Coffee

Health: Benefits of Coffee

I love coffee… I love the smell, the taste, the euphoric feeling I get when I walk into my favorite coffee shop. As fall is creeping up all I can think about is a warm pumpkin latte with a shot of caramel and topped with whip cream. 

Like many Americans, my love for coffee has become more of a lifestyle. When I wake up in the morning I check the weather to determine if I get an iced oat milk latte or a light roast with whip cream. As I am getting dressed I ponder, will I go to the trendy coffee shop downtown, or will I go to the funky one on the edge of town?

However, with this healthy living trend, I can’t help but wonder if my cup of joe is actually good for me. It seems like all I hear are the horror stories of the negative effects of coffee, like anxiety (and no one needs more of that). 

So, I did some research, and luckily for my intense affection for coffee, there are many health benefits to America’s favorite drink. Studies have shown that coffee can actually be pretty good for you (if you drink responsibly of course). Most healthy adults can have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. That is roughly four cups of coffee, which I don’t know about you, but that is plenty of fuel to allow me to function at my fullest capacity throughout the day. 

What are the mental health benefits of coffee? 

As a motivated 5:04 club member, I have a lot of things to check off my list (you understand) and I need my brain to function at a high level. Studies have shown that caffeine has the potential to boost brain functions like mood, attention, and learning. This is because caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by releasing dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. 

What are the physical benefits of coffee? 

If you still need more convincing, you are in luck. The case for coffee is stronger than ever when you look at the many physical benefits. Your favorite morning beverage is full of healthy substances. A research nutritionist for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said coffee contains antioxidants and other substances that reduce internal inflammation and protects against diseases. 

Coffee may help ward off heart disease and heart failure. Drinking one to two cups of coffee a day can help a weakened heart pump enough blood to the body. 

As if that wasn’t enough, coffee may also decrease your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have found that nearly two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. It also found that women age 65 and older who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop it.  

Does it matter what type of coffee I drink? 

Yes, it does matter what you are putting into your coffee. The positive effects of caffeine can be drowned (literally) by cream and sugar. So, unfortunately, my beloved pumpkin latte is probably not going to give me the same benefits as a simple cup of black coffee. 

But don’t fret! There are alternatives that can naturally sweeten and flavor your coffee. Cinnamon, honey, cocoa powder, and dates are great healthy alternatives to keep your delicious pick-me-up still enticing. 

My personal favorite is a light roast coffee with a splash (okay, maybe more) of almond milk. Sometimes if I need more of a treat to start my day off right, I will top it off with chocolate almond milk. 

Coffee for many of us isn’t just about a boost of adrenaline. Yes, we appreciate its beautiful ability to block the brain chemical that makes us feel tired, but if you are a true coffee fanatic, like myself, it’s the taste that you love. 

Can I drink coffee all day? 

I can remember as a little girl my Nana would put on a pot of coffee after dinner and she and my Pop would sit and drink coffee at 7 p.m. I used to think that was the most absurd thing, but now I find myself wanting coffee for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, and (no surprise) after dinner. Or, when I was in college, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. 

However, as I learn more about living a healthy lifestyle, sleep is of utmost importance (what kind of Snooze Sleep blog would this be if I didn’t mention sleep). Studies have shown that consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime will affect your ability to sleep. 

When caffeine is consumed too late in the day it can stop your body from naturally relaxing at night and will worsen your sleep quality. Therefore, I have learned to stop sipping on my cup of java by 3-4 p.m to allow my body time to wind down. 

Bottom line?

Take a breath, take a sip, and continue to enjoy your favorite drink. In the meantime, I am pouring myself a glass of cold brew to get me through the morning.