By Brandon J. Alleman, OMP, CEK, HHP
It has been said many times that “coffee is not good for you.” Let us consider for a moment the potential benefits of coffee and/or caffeine:
- Increased circulation to the brain – caffeine effect
- Can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Improves short-term cognitive function on reaction time, visuo-spatial reasoning, verbal memory and choice reaction time
- May enhance detoxification of the body; signals the liver to “clean itself out”
- Can potentially decrease the risk of strokes
- Can be used as an ergogenic aid to improve strength, speed and endurance
- Increases activity in the frontal lobe of the brain and the anterior cingulate cortex (involved in attention)
- Coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of thyroid disorders
- Can provide significant amounts of magnesium and vitamin B-1
- Prevents iron absorption if taken with meals helping to protect against excess iron and toxic effects
- Drinkers of coffee have been shown to have lower levels of cadmium in tissues
- Epidemiological studies demonstrate that coffee drinkers live roughly five years longer than non-drinking counter parts
If you are a coffee drinker, here are some general recommendations to help make your coffee work for you, rather than against you:
- 1. Be sure to stay hydrated. Aim for drinking at least 2-3 liters of clean water every day.
- 2. Avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach at all costs. ALWAYS eat breakfast first!
- 3. Be reasonable. Consume a reasonable amount of coffee (1-2 cups) in the morning and sip it over a few hours AFTER eating breakfast.
- 4. Eat three meals that have a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Snack as needed and be sure to include some protein with your snack foods.
- 5. Avoid consuming coffee after 2 p.m. The half-life of caffeine in the human body is about six hours and consuming caffeine after 2 p.m. has the ability to disrupt blood sugar during sleeping hours and will create issues for the anabolic hormonal repair cycles of the body.
Used intelligently, coffee can work for you. Enjoy it!