5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the happy chemical) seen in the urine tends to be elevated in coffee drinkers, which means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle, as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression. We all know someone who tends to be tired, wired and over-caffeinated!
Coffee doesn’t only help reduce the risk of developing melanoma—it does the same for basal cell carcinoma too, which affects millions of people every year. A 2012 study of 113,000 participants published by the American Association for Cancer Research found those who drank a minimum of three cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing the skin cancer than those who didn’t.
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages for a reason: It not only tastes good and gives you a serious jolt of energy, but it also has plenty of amazing, body-boosting benefits. Which, in all honestly, is a major bonus considering the fact that most people are simply pleased to have something to help them get through their morning meetings.
"My guess is that they're working together to have some of these benefits," Harvard researcher Walter Willett, who authored a similar study that found a link between coffee consumption and lower risk of early death, told NPR in 2015. “The coffee bean itself is loaded with many different nutrients and phyto-chemicals,” many of which aid in insulin resistance and inflammation reduction.
And the WHO is not the only organization to include coffee in its list of foods that are probably harmless and possibly healthy. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (commissioned by the secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture) thoroughly reviewed the evidence and declared that “moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern…” And the World Cancer Research Fund International concluded that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of several types of cancer.
If you lust after those frothy frozen coffee drinks at your local coffee shop, then this mochaccino recipe is for you. This easy homemade version uses low-fat milk, cocoa powder, coffee and just a little bit of maple syrup, so it has a fraction of the calories of a traditional version. (A small mocha frappuccino at Starbucks is 270 calories!) Coffee ice cubes, made by freezing coffee in an ice cube tray, make this drink frosty and give it a big, strong coffee flavor. Recipe by Joyce Hendley for EatingWell.
So how much java is too much? It's wise to stick to no more than 3 to 4 cups per day. Certain groups, such as people with hypertension and the elderly, may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of caffeine. Pregnant and breast-feeding women will want to limit intake to a maximum of 200 to 300 milligrams a day of caffeine (the amount in 2 to 3 cups of coffee). The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women cap caffeine consumption at 200 milligrams a day.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, the disorder that slowly causes memory loss and mental decline. But coffee could help reduce the risk of developing it in the first place. A 2016 meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrition found drinking high levels of coffee was associated with a reduced risk of a 27 percent reduced risk of the disease.
A number of studies have suggested that consuming caffeine can reduce your risk of developing Parkinson's disease — and research published in 2012 in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology showed that a daily dose of caffeine equivalent to that found in two eight-ounce cups of black coffee can help to control the involuntary movements of people who already have the disease. (You'd have to drink nearly eight cups of brewed black tea to get the same amount of caffeine.)
In fact, coffee shows more antioxidant activity than green tea and cocoa, two antioxidant superstars. Scientists have identified approximately 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during the roasting process. Numerous studies have cited coffee as a major — and in some cases, the primary — dietary source of antioxidants for its subjects.
Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1,400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.
Here's what you should know: Collagen is the protein-rich connective material between tissue and bones (so, yup, veg-heads, you’ll have to sit this one out). It comes in a powder form, so you can stir it into pretty much anything to get a major protein boost that will help you kick-start your day. There’s also some preliminary evidence it can help keep your skin hydrated, improve alcohol-induced liver damage, and support joint health. Look for a brand that doesn't change the flavor, like Further Food Collagen Peptides, so you aren't scrunching up your nose at every sip.
Looking for a replacement for your diet soda? Try sparkling coffee. The latest interpretation of coffee involves blending cold brew with natural ingredients like Meyer lemon juice and organic cane sugar. The health benefits of flavors like Ginger Hibiscus? They’re marketed as healthier energy drinks, with formulations that contain electrolytes, antioxidants, and less caffeine than straight-up coffee. Companies like Matchless, Upruit, Keepers, and Stumptown make canned versions.
This natural energizer is known as a liquid shot of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Some people don’t mind the taste and others do, but all agree that wheatgrass is one of the most nourishing juices. “Because of its easy digestibility and rapid assimilation, it’s a natural energy supplement, whether alone or added to a protein-type supplement drink,” says Gloria Gilbère, doctor of natural health.
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.
Cardiovascular disease. Studies linking coffee consumption to cardiovascular disease have mostly observed it with higher consumption (well above four cups per day), and some of these studies did not account for smoking, which often accompanies coffee consumption and is, of course, an important cardiovascular disease risk factor on its own. Other concerns include modest and temporary elevations in blood pressure, and fast or abnormal heart rhythms.
This trick may seem obvious, but you would be shocked to learn just how many popular versions of coffee are loaded with artificial sweeteners and refined sugar. For example, a chai tea latte (found at a popular coffee store that shall not be named) has 15 more grams of sugar than a Snickers bar does! Even less obvious versions of sweetened coffee may be packed with artificial sweeteners or extra sugar. A salted caramel mocha (again, found at an unnamed coffee chain) hits your bloodstream with a whopping 56 grams (!) of sugar.
Caffeine affects every person differently, so if you experience any negative side effects, consider cutting your coffee consumption accordingly. It takes about six hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off, so limit coffee drinking to early in the day, or switch to decaf, which only contains about 2 to 12 mg of caffeine per eight ounces. Always taper your coffee consumption gradually. Avoid quitting coffee cold turkey; doing so can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms that may include severe headache, muscle aches and fatigue which can last for days.
To put this in perspective, the World Health Organization recommends that adults consume 25 grams (or less) of sugar per day. One daily unhealthy choice when it comes to coffee, and you can say hello to 5 or 10 extra pounds in a month or two. To give you another example, a typical Frappuccino can weigh in at 66 grams of sugar – yikes. Drinking coffee black is a simple way to avoid all of these issues, but I will also give you some extra delicious tips to help spice things up.
Cardamom is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, because it helps neutralize the stimulating effects of caffeine, but that’s not the only reason to add the spice to your java. A two-tablespoon serving has just 36 calories, is loaded with fiber, essential minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds; research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found cardamom contains compounds with the potential to kill cancer cells and stunt new cancer cell growth. Cardamom has also been known to improve blood circulation in the body, help control cholesterol, cure dental diseases, and infections like gonorrhea. It’s even been said to cure impotency, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
Parkinson's is a disease of the central nervous system characterized by tremors (and you've probably heard that Michael J. Fox has it). Scientists are still figuring out what combination of environmental and genetic factors causes some people to develop this disease, but some preliminary research suggests caffeine may have a protective benefit against it. In a 2017 literature review published in the Archives of Medical Science, researchers concluded that people who drink moderate amounts of coffee seem to have lower rates of Parkinson's, but they couldn't pinpoint why.
“For example, prior studies have suggested that variants in CYP1A2, (a gene) encoding the enzyme responsible for more than 95 percent of caffeine metabolism, may alter associations of coffee drinking with cardiovascular-related outcomes, with slower caffeine metabolizers having higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) relative to their non-drinking counterparts, whereas faster caffeine metabolizers who drink coffee are at no or lower risk of these outcomes.”
“Milk, lactose-free or not, will provide essential vitamins and minerals,” Meyer says. “By adding 1/4 cup milk to your morning joe, you'll get 2 grams of protein, 8 percent of the daily value of calcium, and 6 percent of the daily value of vitamin D, riboflavin, and phosphorus... essential for bone health, red blood cell production, and metabolism.” So no matter where you are—or whether or not you’re fully awake—there’s a way to add a little boost to your daily cup.
When the morning rush gets between us and breakfast, we become our worst selves (hangry, stuck in rush-hour traffic, staring at a giant billboard of a breakfast sandwich). But here’s a way to grab breakfast and coffee on your way out the door: Brew some caffeine-packed oats in your thermos for a delicious morning meal. Not only are you getting your energizing fix, but you're also eating a solid breakfast because oatmeal comes packed with fiber and minerals like magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.
In the Hungry For Change Book we discuss the addictive nature of caffeine and when consumed in large quantities, can lead to adrenal fatigue. Coffee is also a diuretic, meaning it purges water from your body. That said, if you want to function at a high level and remain well hydrated, then it would be a better choice to replace coffee with a natural alternative. The list below provides some great tasting substitutes.
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A 2016 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found drinking coffee might be able to help you lose weight thanks to caffeine’s ability to increase thermogenesis, fat oxidation, and lipolysis. But more research still needs to be done, so don’t count as your Starbuck runs as a way to drop the pounds. Especially if you’re drinking something that’s not simple, black coffee.
Other studies have tried to pinpoint exactly what in caffeine is helping to halt the onset of these diseases. A 2014 study (14) found that caffeine blocks various tau receptors (a protein that contributes to brain cell degeneration). Another study found that caffeinated coffee increased GCSF (15) - a substance greatly decreased in Alzheimer’s patients - levels in the bloodstream.