5 Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee

Health & Wellness

coffee

Do you enjoy at least 1 cup of fresh brewed coffee every morning?  If you do, you’re certainly not alone as coffee is a staple in many countries.  In the United States at least 4 out of every 5 men and women drink coffee daily and in recent years the health benefits of coffee appear to far outweigh risks.  However, before discussing the virtues of java, it should be pointed out that the effects of caffeine can stick around for hours.  For my patients with insomnia, I recommend that they consume their final cup of coffee at least 8-10 hours before bedtime.  Second, due to  recent cancer concerns related to the toxin acrylamide that is released when coffee beans are roasted,  I recommend staying away from instant and light roasted coffee because they contain significantly higher amounts of acrylamide than medium or dark roasted varieties.

Now that you are armed with a cup of dark roasted coffee, let’s explore some of the proven health benefits:

  1. Improves Mood and Concentration: coffee contains the chemical methylxanthine, that helps to boost mood and concentration by blocking a compound that prevents the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and glutamate,  powerful neurotransmitters intimately involved in emotional health, focus and attention span.
  2. Reduces Glucose Levels: coffee contains the phytochemical, chlorogenic acid that slows the absorption of carbs, thereby lowering blood glucose levels and possibly the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Clears your Lung Fields: coffee also contains the compound, theophylline that dilates lung airways and in medicinal form is commonly used as a treatment for asthma. If you have wheezing, try taking a deep breath after a cup of morning Joe and you may be surprised that your breathing is better and your lungs are clear.
  4. Speeds Up Your Metabolism: coffee boosts metabolism by increasing basal metabolic rate (BMR) due to activation of the flight-or-fight chemical epinephrine (or adrenaline); this can result in burning of fat calories and weight loss.
  5. Helps You to Live Longer:  Compared to non-drinkers, drinking as little as 1-2 cups of coffee a day is associated with improved lifespan.  Perhaps more importantly, your quality of life will improve too!

Michael Miller, MD is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland USA.  He is a member of the American College of Cardiology Nutrition Workgroup and bestselling author.  His latest book is   “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease“.

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