There’s no need to try anything crazy; the only performance enhancer you really need is coffee. Research has shown its ability to give workouts a boost and increase athletic performance, and that’s exactly why you’ll find so many Olympians drinking it: One report from the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found the majority of the 20,686 Olympic athletes analyzed had caffeine in their urine.
A recent study appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at the coffee-drinking habits of more than 447,000 people over 10 years. The researchers found that those who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing melanoma than people who drank decaffeinated coffee or no coffee.
When a group of volunteers received a dose of 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, about as much contained in a single cup of coffee, Austrian researchers found a surge in the volunteers’ brain activity, measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI), as they performed a memory task. The researchers noted that the memory skills and reaction times of the caffeinated volunteers were also improved when compared to the control group who received a placebo and showed no increase in brain activity.
Need a little boost to get you through your HIIT workout? A 2013 study from PLoS One shows that athletes who consumed coffee an hour before exercise had greater performance than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. Plus, a 2015 study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that people who drink coffee before a workout burn more calories after exercise, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This means that even if your spin class is over, your body will continue to burn more calories. We’ll drink to that! ☕
Haendeler, who drinks six cups of coffee a day, says it can be part of a healthy lifestyle—but is no miracle cure. And she is quick to point out there are no shortcuts to good health. “If you hear about this study and decide to drink coffee but you do nothing else—no exercise, no proper diet—then, of course, this will not work,” she says. “You cannot simply decide, ‘Okay, I’m sitting here and drinking four, five or six cups of coffee and everything is fine.'”
I also occasionally like to add a teaspoon of organic cocoa powder (non-sweetened) to my coffee to make my own sort of mocha coffee (but without the loads of sugar in a typical mocha you'd get at the coffee shop, so just use a little stevia to sweeten). The added cocoa powder also gives you great taste and a good dose of extra healthy antioxidants (and cocoa is also known for helping to lower blood pressure!)
Research has revealed that regular coffee drinkers can reduce their risk of having a stroke. In women, it seems to lower the risk of heart diseases. It may increase your blood pressure temporarily, but that does not mean a stroke or heart disease is inevitable. It can often work to clear out the system and keep your heart functioning at an optimal level. A study also shows that coffee helps cure arrhythmias, which is abnormal heart rhythms.
Although it was once believed that coffee was potentially a carcinogen, more recent studies have found that it may help lower the risk for a variety of cancers, not just skin cancer. The risk of both liver and prostate cancer may be reduced. For example, according to researchers, coffee drinkers were 40 to 50 percent less likely to develop liver cancer than individuals who did not. Other cancers that may be less likely when you drink coffee include oral, uterine, colon, and rectal cancer.
People who regularly workout drink coffee half an hour before for a burst of energy so they can get the most of their exercise. The burst of caffeine increases epinephrine levels in the blood, which makes the body ready for any physical exertion. This allows people to push themselves longer and harder to begin seeing immediate results from their exercise regimen.
You might think that nonfat, sugar-free vanilla syrup is a healthy choice, but low-calorie doesn’t always translate to health benefits. Swinney suggests weaning yourself off sweeteners completely if you can, but if you can’t, be super picky about the additives you’re putting into your brew. “Pick organic cream to whiten your coffee or make your own packaging-free alternative milk from oats or nuts. Creamers often have artificial flavors, sweeteners, and other additives, so you’re better off using organic milk or cream plus organic brown sugar,” she says. Next, don’t miss these 13 surprising uses for coffee.
Not only does coffee help enhance your athletic performance, but it can also help reduce muscle pain after you do spend some time at the gym: A 2003 study in the Journal of Pain found those with high caffeine consumption had significantly reduced muscle pain after working out, which could be explained by caffeine’s ability to decrease sensitivity to pain, opposed to those who drank a placebo.
Anybody who’s serious about health knows the importance of a healthy cardiovascular system. What you may not know is by simply drinking 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day, you could significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease-related death. According to a Japanese study of more than 76,000 participants, men who hit this sweet spot (1-2 cups per day) consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%. Of course, this still doesn’t excuse you from doing actual cardio. (And if you really hate it that much, check out 8 cardio workouts for the guy who hates cardio.)
If Starbucks is your favorite coffee house, then you’ve likely seen the cinnamon on the milk counter when you go to top off your brew. Next time, take advantage and give your health a boost. Swinney says that cinnamon can make your beverage even better for you, thanks to its antioxidant properties, not to mention a slew of other benefits. “Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar in many clinical studies. Adding spices add antioxidants and sweetness without calories, helping to cut back on the sugar you might add to coffee. Cloves have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” she explains. Check out 10 weird facts about coffee you never knew.
Or, if I can't get grass-fed cream, what I've also been using for a while now is coconut cream as one of the healthiest creamer alternatives. I get this by buying cans of organic coconut milk, and then after opening the can (shake the can well before opening), I store the coconut milk in the fridge in a container. Note that the cans of coconut milk are much creamier and better as a coffee creamer than those cartons of "coconut milk drink" which are just watered down coconut milk.
Want to lower your risk of death? A National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health study of more than 400,000 people revealed that drinking coffee might be the answer. Between 1995 and 2008, male participants drinking even just one daily cup reduced their risk of death by 6%. Drinking either 2-3 cups or 6+ cups reduced the risk by 10% during the timeframe of the study. The greatest reduction of death risk was 12% in the group drinking 4-5 cups.
John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.
In a research, a few individuals received a dose of 150 milligrams of caffeine each, about as much consisted of a cup of coffee. The researchers noticed a significant surge in their brain activity. The researchers, also, noted that the reaction times, as well as memory skills of the caffeinated individual improved dramatically compared to the control group that received an ordinary placebo. To be specific, they didn’t indicate any increase whatsoever as far as brain activity is concerned.
Remember, coffee from popular chains can be loaded with hidden sugars and many other artificial ingredients. Going with black coffee, or making your own, is a much healthier choice. Be sure to use filtered water and organic beans for homemade coffee. If you need a little more spice, try adding grass-fed butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, cocoa or collagen. Remember, healthier coffee doesn’t have to be boring. You can still get your morning caffeine fix – just do it in a more Paleo-friendly way!
Coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world (global demand is high, so methods of growing it often are chemical fertilizer-pesticide-herbicide intensive). This is bad for you (since pesticide residues can end up in your cup) and really bad for the planet. High demand and the fact that it’s generally grown in poorer countries also means labor practices are a major issue. Buy organic and fair-trade if and when you can.
You don’t have to be a trained cardiologist to see that that coffee supports heart health. This, it does so by protecting the heart’s muscular chamber against artery damage that may result from inflammation. This way, various heart diseases are warded off including common ailments such as hypertension, thrombosis, heart attack, heart failure, among others
Want to add even more antioxidants to your coffee and control your blood sugar? I thought so. How exactly does one do that? It’s simple: just add a pinch of cinnamon to your cup! Interestingly, cinnamon has a fairly long history of use as both a spice and a medicine. While it can be used at any time of year, it no doubt tastes best during the cold, winter months.
The American Heart Association recommends a daily limit of six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women. That does leave some room for sugar in your coffee, but be mindful of much you use. Rather than pouring it in from a larger container, use packets or a measuring spoon to keep track of your intake. And try to use just one packet, or one teaspoon. If you use a pre-sweetened milk or creamer, skip granulated sugar altogether.
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