The Health Benefits of Coffee

The Pros and Cons of Coffee

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We all love it. We all drink it. And some of us (writers and the like) are pretty much addicted to it. It’s coffee, and with the emergence and popularity of the gourmet café over that last several years, we’ve heard every rumor associated with it — the good, the bad, and the downright fictitious.

Well, we’re here to set the record straight. Coffee, just like anything else, has its pros and cons. And, just like anything else, the key with coffee is moderation. Because as much as we may thrive on it, too much of a good thing can, in fact, be kind of a bad thing. Kind of.

It actually does help prevent disease (really!). Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests a cup of joe is doing more for us than just getting us through our morning. Studies show that coffee can help prevent all sorts of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer! Essentially, coffee contains neuroprotective agents that can keep brain and muscle tissue young. But don’t get the wrong idea — loading it up with cream and sugar isn’t going to do anyone any favors…

…Unless it’s in moderation. According to researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology at Universidad de Barcelona, combining caffeine with glucose can actually improve brain activity and efficiency. Basically, the two work together to help the brain maintain focus and memory. Now, this isn’t a green light to order that extra large, extra sugary mocha on your next coffee trip, but it does suggest that a little sweetness once in a while could help you out — especially if you’ve got a big test or meeting that day.

Need a pre-workout boost? It’s good for that, too. Research conducted at Coventry University in England found that weight lifters who drank a caffeinated beverage (sans sugar) before a workout were able to complete more sets of each exercise before exhaustion hit. While the study itself was pretty small (only 13 participants), it does make us feel a little better about having that extra shot in our morning Americano.

Other key coffee tips

Make sure you drink tons of water. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a diuretic. While that may sound like a good thing during that time of the month when you’re packing on a few extra water pounds, it’s definitely not a good thing in terms of your skin, which wrinkles when it’s dehydrated. The solution, of course, is to moderate the amount of coffee you’re drinking…and pair it with an extra tall glass of H2O.

And keep it under five cups a day. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, drinking more than four cups of coffee could actually make weight loss even harder that it already is (as if that’s possible)! Researchers found that excessive caffeine intake “caused abnormal retention of fat within cells.” Talk about a diet don’t!

xx, The FabFitFun Team

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