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      The health benefits of coffee

      Coffee is one of the favourite drinks of many people around the globe, with close to 2 billion cups consumed each day.

      Coffee isn't only a tasty and comforting beverage; it also has many surprising health benefits. Although most of us drink coffee because we love the taste, it can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle, helping to prevent diseases and illnesses and boosting our mood. 

      The type of coffee that you drink can make a difference too - fresh roasted coffee is generally thought to provide more health benefits, but instant coffee doesn't come far behind, although it does contain a little less caffeine.

      Great for helping physical performance

      Because of the caffeine levels in coffee, drinking just one black coffee before working out can have a positive impact on your performance. This is because of the effect caffeine has on your adrenaline levels.

      With higher adrenaline levels comes increased performance, as your adrenaline levels are linked to your fight or flight response. This response prepares the body for physical exertion, which is why you'll find that you can perform better at the gym after drinking coffee, meaning you can see more benefit from your workouts. If you want to reap the benefits though, make sure you drink it approximately an hour before your workout.

      A positive mental health and mood booster

      A Harvard study linked coffee consumption to a lower risk of suicide. The findings showed a surprising link between those that drank 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee each day and their perceived risk of suicide. When compared to those that drank decaffeinated coffee or no coffee at all, those that consumed 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee each day were found to have a 50% lower risk of suicide. This is likely due to the way caffeine can act as a mild antidepressant on the body by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels.

      A natural fat burner

      You may have heard about fat burner supplements before. Interestingly, coffee is considered a natural fat burner. The caffeine in coffee can aid fat loss by breaking down fat in the cells and redistributing this in the body as a source of energy. This means that drinking coffee won’t only improve how you perform in the gym, but it may also help you reach your fat loss goals too.

      Coffee is excellent for brain health

      Many studies have shown that coffee can improve your brain health substantially. This is because caffeine has positive effects on reaction times, memory and mental function. If you've got an exam approaching, or need your brain to be on top form for any other reason, then coffee can give you the boost you need.

      Coffee is thought to help prevent various health conditions

      Type 2 diabetes affects many people around the world. It is a response to high blood sugar levels as a result of reduced insulin secretion or insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes can come with lifelong issues for those that have it, but it is thought that coffee may help prevent it.

      Several studies have shown that those who consume coffee regularly may be between 20 and 50% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
      Type 2 diabetes isn't the only health condition that is thought to be somewhat preventable as a result of coffee consumption. Drinking coffee regularly is also linked to preventing conditions including strokes, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

      The nutritional benefits associated with coffee

      By looking into the nutritional benefits of coffee, it's easy to see why many studies have concluded that it has positive effects for those that consume it regularly. Coffee has antioxidant properties, which means it helps cells in the body fight against oxidation from chemicals and toxins.

      Additionally, it can help the body fight inflammation, which is at the centre of many health conditions. By drinking coffee, you also consume a range of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and B vitamins that all help the body to function correctly.

      Links to liver cancer prevention

      With cancer affecting a large percentage of the population in some way and being one of the main causes of death worldwide, finding ways to prevent certain types of cancer can be invaluable. It’s easy to see why identifying preventative measures remains at the forefront of many scientific cancer studies.

      There have been studies around coffee consumption and its impacts on preventing liver cancer, which is the sixth most common type of cancer according to the World Cancer Research Fund, and there is evidence to suggest that drinking coffee can have substantial impact on preventing liver cancer.

      Can you drink too much coffee?

      In short, yes. Although coffee is linked to providing many health benefits, if you drink too much of it, it can have negative effects. Because caffeine is a stimulant, if you drink too much coffee you could experience symptoms associated with a caffeine overdose. These include insomnia, headaches, diarrhoea and in some extreme cases, hallucinations and trouble breathing.

      Fortunately, it is difficult to overdose on caffeine by drinking coffee alone. To minimise experiencing any effects of consuming too much caffeine, you should try not to consume more than 400 mg of it each day, which is around 4 cups of coffee. If you're pregnant, it's best not to exceed 200mg per day according to NHS advice, which is equivalent to around 1-2 cups per day.

      What is the best form of coffee?

      The health benefits associated with coffee are generally found in all forms. However, in terms of antioxidant levels, fresh is thought to be higher. There doesn't seem to be a difference between whether you opt for ground coffee or choose to grind the beans yourself with a coffee grinder (although grinding yourself can taste nicer), just make sure that the coffee you drink is fresh.

      Generally, fresh coffee should stay good for around 6 months if stored in an airtight container. Instant coffee, on the other hand, can last much longer.

      Regardless of whether you prefer instant to fresh coffee or the other way around, drinking coffee regularly in any form is thought to come with many health benefits. Just be sure to consume a responsible amount of coffee each day and lower your caffeine intake if you feel any negative effects.

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