By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Caffeine is a stimulant that has been extensively researched and has been labeled as a safe and effective nutrient. Caffeine combined with the numerous healthy chemicals and substances found in coffee are also healthy for you. Contrary to popular belief, coffee is and can be good for you. Coffee contains many healthy micronutrients, like polyphenols, that are great for your body.
Research suggests that polyphenols have protective effects on our bodies. The term “protective effect” means that it works in a positive fashion on a cellular level to battle sickness and diseases, which in turn, keeps us healthy.
In fact, there is a negative correlation between coffee consumption and diabetes, some cancers, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. This negative correlation simply means that more coffee can be associated with less risk of these diseases. In general, science suggests that coffee and some of its’ ingredients like caffeine, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid can positively alter our genetic pathways, which can lead to better health!
Researchers have even looked at which type of roast would be healthier or more beneficial for people. They concluded that light and medium roasted coffees have the greatest amount of polyphenols and antioxidants.
While all these findings reveal the benefits of coffee, there could be some disadvantages to those that overconsume coffee or may be “addicted” to coffee. The risk of overconsumption could lead to an increase risk of insomnia and cardiovascular complications, and may also disrupt postmenopausal hormones.
When you go to order a coffee, pick a light or medium roasted coffee that is absent of added sugar, syrups, and sweeteners. This means that the healthiest coffee is black coffee! Two to three 8-12 ounce cups per day may be able to really help improve your health and protect your body from disease.
Coffee and its Consumption: Benefits and Risks. DOI: 10.1080/10408390903586412. Published online: March 2011.
Kreider et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:7 http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/7