For most of us, coffee is an essential part of our day. It helps us through our hectic morning routines, warms us as we share precious moments with friends and, when needed, gives us an extra kick of energy. But is there more to this much-loved beverage?
Catherine Clark, the owner and founder of The Harvest Table, says coffee received a bad rap for years, but there is finally some good news for coffee connoisseurs.
“Studies are now showing that you could be getting more from your favourite beverage than you thought. Moderate coffee drinking (not more than four cups a day) is now thought to actually have a variety of health benefits, as your morning cup of joe is in fact packed with healthy substances that are safeguarding your body from several chronic diseases,” she says.
Clark’s top four reasons why coffee might be one of the most beneficial beverages on the planet:
1. Increases energy
The active ingredient in coffee that gives “vooma” is caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to temporarily improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general brain function.
In other words, it boosts your energy levels and gets you moving – fast. It takes around 45 minutes for your body to absorb caffeine and the effects peak for anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. Caffeine is absorbed in the gut and dissolved in the body’s water and fat molecules.
It is able to cross into the brain, but fibre or food in the gut can slow the effects of the caffeine peak. If you are looking for a quick caffeine fix, having your coffee on an empty stomach is the way to go.
2. Burns fat
Can coffee really support weight loss? The simple answer is yes. Caffeine, partly due to its stimulant effect on the central nervous system, raises metabolism by up to 11% and causes the body to send signals to the fat cells to break down excess fat.
Of course, releasing fatty acids into your blood will not help you lose fat unless you are burning more calories than you consume, so, if you are watching your weight, have your morning fix but opt for coffee without milk or sugar.
3. Source of essential nutrients
Coffee is loaded with nutrients and is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking many fruits and vegetables.
The high levels of antioxidants help to reduce internal inflammation and have been shown to be effective in guarding against conditions such as colon cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and even Type 2 diabetes.
4. Boost physical performance
Firing up with a coffee before a workout has also been shown to improve physical performance.
Caffeine improves endurance levels and resistance to fatigue. Studies indicate that athletes have a more positive exercise experience when they exercised after a cup of coffee.
“With so many benefits, it’s hard not to be a coffee-lover!” says Clark.
For those who want to add more nutrition to their favourite caffeine fix, she recommends adding a collagen creamer to your morning cuppa instead of dairy.
“The collagen will provide your body with even more health benefits and will help to further reduce any inflammation and leaky gut issues, ease joint pain, improve liver health and increase metabolism.
“The combination of coffee and collagen not only tastes great but packs a punch in keeping you in optimal health.”