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For years coffee has been a hotly debated health topic. However, in recent years experts have found that a few cups of joe — decaffeinated or caffeinated — may benefit people’s health. This is attributed to the high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.
Many centenarians — a person who lives 100 years old or older — drink around two to three cups of black coffee a day. Most centenarians live in blue zones regions. These five regions are found in Latin America, Asia, and the United States.
Researchers have identified these areas as having the highest concentration of centenarians. The centenarians who live in blue zones have social circles that help them reinforce healthy behaviors — like moving their bodies.
These people take the time to de-stress. They are committed to their family and are part of their communities — which are often religious ones.
Studies have shown that coffee drinkers are at a lower risk of developing several health issues — like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, liver disease, stroke, and heart attack. Some studies suggest that coffee drinkers are at around 65 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
It has been a well-known fact that coffee can help people feel less tired and increase their energy levels. This is due to coffee containing a stimulant called caffeine — which is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance.
Caffeine is absorbed into a person’s bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it travels to the brain. When caffeine reaches the brain it blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. This causes other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine to increase — enhancing the firing of neurons.
Researchers found that coffee can improve various aspects of the human brain function. For example, reaction times, mood, vigilance, memory, and general mental function.
The stimulant found in coffee can also help burn fat. There are several studies that show that caffeine can boost a person’s metabolic rate by 3 to 11 percent. Other studies say that caffeine can increase an obese individual’s metabolism by as much as 10 percent. For people who are lean, it can increase fat burning by 29 percent.
Drinking a cup of coffee can also stimulate a person’s nervous system. Caffeine has been known to signal fat cells to break down body fat. It can also increase adrenaline levels in a person’s blood. Adrenaline is the fight-or-flight hormone that prepares the body for intense physical exertion.
Caffeine has been noted to improve one’s physical performance by an average of 11 to 12 percent. Due to these beneficial qualities, it makes sense to drink a strong cup of coffee around 30 minutes before working out.
One cup of coffee contains:
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): Six percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
- Potassium and manganese: Three percent of the RDI.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11 percent of the Reference Daily Intake.
- Vitamin B3 (Magnesium and niacin): Two percent of the RDI.
Drinking three cups of coffee triples the amount of these beneficial nutrients. These health benefits make a cup of joe taste that much better.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Healthline: 13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science; by Kris Gunnars, BSc
NPR: Eating To Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From The Blue Zones
Blue Zones: Science Confirms: Coffee Can Add Years to Your Life
Featured and Top Image by Suresh Khole Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inline Image by Dennis Wong Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License