4 Surprising Health Benefits Of Caffeine

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and, thanks to the high levels of natural antioxidants and nutrients, it is actually quite a healthy drink. In the UK, it is estimated that 2.1 billion cups of coffee are drank outside of the home and the good news is that our huge caffeine intake does come with some health benefits. 

According to recent research, if you drink 2 cups of coffee a day, then you can potentially cut the risk of developing liver cancer by a third. As with any food and drink item, moderation is key, but the landscape for coffee drinkers certainly isn’t as gloomy as it once was. 

It May Reduce Your Risk Of Parkinson’s

In a recent study, researchers found that by drinking four to five cups of coffee a day has the potential to cut the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in half. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative conditions, behind Alzheimer’s, and is caused by dopamine-generating neurons in your brain dying. 

As with Alzheimer’s, there is no known cure, which makes it even more important to focus on finding a prevention. For those who already suffer from Parkinson’s, a study suggested that regular caffeine intake can help common symptoms, such as coordination problems. 

Protect Your Liver

Your liver truly is an amazing organ and it carries out hundreds of important functions every day. There are several diseases which primarily affect the liver, such as hepatitis and fatty liver disease. Many of these liver diseases can then lead cirrhosis, where your liver is mostly replaced by scar tissue. 

Coffee may protect against the damage of cirrhosis and those who drink 4 or more cups of coffee per day can have up to 80% less risk. Coffee is widely believed to have a huge host of positive health benefits on your liver health and the latest findings suggest that it could also have a significant effect on the risk of developing liver cancer. 

Essential Nutrients

Coffee actually contains several important nutrients, such as magnesium, niacin, riboflavin and manganese. Surprisingly, many of the nutrients which are found in coffee do make it into the final brew. 

On average, each cup of coffee contains:

  • 6% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B5
  • 11% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B2
  • 2% of your recommended daily allowance of B3 and B1
  • And 3% of your recommended daily allowance for potassium and manganese. 

Whilst this may not seem like much, if you are drinking a few cups of coffee per day, then the numbers start to add up. Coffee also contains a high amount of antioxidants and is actually one of the biggest sources of antioxidants within the western diet, outranking even fruit and vegetables. However, if you think your diet is lacking in any vitamins or minerals, be sure to take the relevant supplements rather than drinking more coffee, such as magnesium tablets, multivitamins and digestive aids. 

Can Improve Physical Performance

Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and signals your fat cells to break down fat in the body and by making this fatty acids free, they are then used as fuel for your body. A recent study found that athletes burned around 15% more calories for three hours following exercise after drinking a cup of coffee than those who were given a placebo. 

Another study also found that drinking two to three cups of caffeine in the hour before a workout also noted a reduction in muscle pain following their workout. Caffeine also increases epinephrine, or adrenaline, levels in your blood - this is the fight or flight hormone that prepares your body for intense physical exertion. 

Given these effects of caffeine on physical performance, it isn’t surprising that caffeine can improve physical performance by around 11-12%, so it may make sense to drink a cup of coffee around half an hour before any planned exercise. 

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