Mmm coffee.. Everyone’s favourite way to start the morning off. In fact, most of us swear we can’t even function without a cup of Joe first thing in the AM.
Is Coffee Good for you?
Here’s the good news, it can be very good for you, a superfood (drink) some might even say! Coffee is one of the only beverages outside of water that is actually healthy for you. It comes from a natural source and the evidence suggests that regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of heart disease, alzheimer’s, colon cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, depression and even premature death. Not too bad eh (there goes the Canadian accent in me)?
Why is Coffee Healthy?
Much of these health benefits are due to the abundance of antioxidants contained in beans, and that goes for regular and decaf. In particular, coffee is one of the richest sources of a powerful compound called Polyphenols, which provide a boost for gut and brain health. Polyphenols can also be found in high amounts in blueberries and dark chocolate.
Is Caffeine Healthy?
Let’s look at caffeine now, this is where things get a little tricky with coffee. Caffeine is a natural stimulant, which is the reason we all love our Starbucks (or Tim Hortons for the Canadians) in the morning. Stimulants raise the neural or physiological activity in the body, improving focus, alertness and overall cognitive function, while decreasing fatigue, and even enhancing athletic performance. On the other hand, too much stimulant can also raise cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline levels, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion, weight gain and of course insomnia (if you drink caffeinated coffee at night).
How Much is Too Much Caffeine?
Coffee consumption is very individualized and the key factor here for the most part is actually your genetics. Some people can have 1 cup and be wired all day and others can literally drink coffee while they are half asleep. You need to pay attention to how your body reacts from coffee and drink accordingly. If you’re getting the jitters from a large cup for coffee, it might be time to switch to a small cup or if you notice extreme crashes, this is another sign to slow it down (not have another cup!). Be aware, these symptoms may also be due to the chemicals and mold toxins contained in the coffee you are drinking. This is very real and unfortunately in most coffee made from mass produced coffee beans.
Another way to determine your optimal coffee consumption is to take a genetic test. These tests are very common and only require you to spit in a tube. Analyzing your DNA can tell you how well you metabolize caffeine and give you some more details on how much coffee is good for you. We recommend the FitnessGenes test.
Moderation is Key, Don’t Be An Addict!
Like most things, coffee is good for you in moderation. One of the knocks on coffee is that caffeine is addictive, which it is, and unfortunately this causes many of us to become dependent on the substance. It’s important to be aware or your relationship with coffee and don’t allow yourself to rely on it to get through your day. If this is you, take a couple weeks off to level out and then give it another go. Take days off throughout the week just to show yourself that you can or switch it up and try some green tea every once in a while.
Coffee ranks near the top for healthiest beverages available, so don’t hesitate to get it in ya! That said, we humans tend to take something that’s really good for us and ruin it.. Turns out, the bulk of the beans we use to make our coffee are toxic and a lot of what we put in our coffee actually reverse the health benefits it provides us in the first place.
Check out the ingredient (and sweet recipe) we at HealthSimple love to put in our coffee to boost cognitive function (among other benefits)!