Employee Wellness: Is Coffee Good For You?
If coffee is the highlight of your morning, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s good for you. And for the over 64% of Americans who drink coffee daily, they will also be glad to hear that the aroma alone reduces stress levels, increases you energy levels, and can reduce depression. It also has been shown to reduce the risk for liver cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart failure.
Coffee contains several useful nutrients, including riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin (vitamin B3). Two main components in coffee — caffeine and antioxidants — can help support brain health and protect the body against free radical damage.
Here are just some of the additional ways your morning cup of Joe is benefiting you:
Increases alertness and sharpens concentration
The caffeine found in coffee has a number of positive effects on the brain. Caffeine, the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance, keeps your brain alert by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes you feel sleepy. One study found that caffeine consumption led to short-term improvements in attention and alertness in participants completing a cognition test.
Increases physical performance
Caffeine increases adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone, in your blood which prepares you for intense physical exertions. The increase in adrenaline and resulting release of fatty acids from your fat tissues (to use as fuel) leads to extra energy and improvements in performance.
Caffeine may also boost some of your “feel-good” neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. Caffeine, in the form of coffee, has been shown to decrease the levels of depression with higher consumption.
Lowes risk of type 2 diabetes
Studies are showing that people who drink coffee have a 23-50% lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes. People who drink 4-6 cups of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee each day have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome – including type 2 diabetes. But even increasing consumption by 1 cup day lowers risk of type 2 diabetes by 11% and overall the risk of death by 30%. And the antioxidants in coffee may also offer protection from metabolic syndrome, a condition caused by inflammation from free radicals in the body.
Reduces risk of liver disease
Studies have shown that coffee intake is likely to reduce the risk of liver cancer and reduce the risk of chronic liver disease. Consuming any type of coffee appears to reduce the risk of liver cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis. The researchers suggested that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day might reduce the risk of nonviral hepatitis-related cirrhosis by 66%.
Not only does that morning cup of Joe help boost alertness, improve your mood and improve physical performance, it may also offer some protection against type 2 diabetes, cancer and liver disease, thanks to its components of caffeine and antioxidants. It is seen as one of healthier aspects of a traditional Western diet and following the daily recommended intake can allow most people to derive health benefits and reduce the risk of certain health conditions.
Written by Tiffany Dean, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern