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New Year’s resolutions: don’t quit coffee!

This is another guest post by our friend, Shawn Dempewolf.

“I should stop drinking coffee, it’s probably not good for me,” said a bunch of people who were wrong.

Believe it or not, coffee has health benefits. A cup in the morning gets that frontal lobe firing, boosts memory and mood, and helps you keep your brain active, which is linked to a longer, healthier life. Plus coffee improves health of certain organs and reduces health risks.

Here are a few of the perks (pun intended):

Boost antioxidants. Coffee beans (especially those grown organically in small farms) are rich in antioxidants. Among other things, antioxidants help your body reduce hidden inflammation, which is linked to pain and many forms of disease.

Cut disease risk. Studies show that your daily morning coffee may help reduce the risk of diseases including Parkinson’s, heart disease, and liver disorders.

Keep your brain firing. Coffee can be good for your brain. That morning mug not only gives you a surge of energy, it improves mental performance. And in the long term, coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of developing memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.*

Aid weight loss and maintenance. The caffeine in coffee boosts your metabolic rate, meaning it helps your body burn more calories. Some people drink it before a workout to increase their calorie burn.

 

What coffee is best?

As far as what type of coffee is the most healthful, drip coffee has a slight lead over espresso. It’s not about the caffeine level—it’s about the filter. Studies show that dripping the coffee through a filter removes some unhealthful compounds and oils. Drinking unfiltered coffee—such as espresso, French press, Turkish, and Greek—can increase your cholesterol. If you are worried about your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, you might opt for filtered coffee and also watch how much cream and sugar you add to your coffee.

The fine print

Some people are advised by their health professional to avoid coffee, and a doctor’s advice always trumps a blog. Also, if you don’t like coffee or choose not to drink it, that’s fine. You can get the benefits in other ways, such as through tea.

These recommendations are for one to three cups of coffee a day. As with all things, moderation is best. Drinking so much caffeine that you have the jitters isn’t good. Also, if you find yourself drinking coffee or espresso drinks throughout the day to stay awake or increase your energy, you may need to overhaul your diet or lifestyle. A good naturopathic physician or nutritionist is great for that.

*Increasing your coffee intake or starting a coffee habit later in life may have the opposite effect on memory-disease risk.

Sources

Forbes magazine: Drinking Coffee Actually Does Have Health Benefits, According to Science

Harvard Gazette: How Coffee Loves You Back

Verywell.com: Can Coffee Lower Your Cholesterol?

Washington Post: Yesterday’s Coffee Science

SFGate magazine: Does Coffee Slow Down Metabolism?

 

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