Hello Friends, I wanted to focus this article on the pros and cons of one of my favorite substances in the entire world: Coffee. This magical elixir can be so delicious, satisfying and helpful in your productivity. I personally enjoy a couple cups every morning, from its aroma to its delicious flavor to the sheer ritual of preparing it or obtaining it. I love coffee and damn near everything about it. I am not alone in my coffee obsession but much like anything enjoyable in this life, there are pros and cons. Luckily, coffee is so popular and ubiquitous worldwide that there is tons of scientific research to back up both the positive and negative effects of this loveable libation.
First let’s start with the wonderful positive effects or “pros” of drinking coffee. Coffee gets its kick from caffeine, a natural stimulant that makes you feel more energetic, but the caffeine in coffee doesn’t just wake you up. It acts on the brain to improve memory, mood, reaction times and mental function. Caffeine can even improve endurance and performance during exercise according to a 2004 study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Caffeine isn’t the only thing coffee has going for it. According to registered dietician Andrea Dunn RD, “Coffee contains about a thousand different botanical compounds.”. Scientists haven’t studied all of them well, but the news so far gets two thumbs up. Coffee comes from beans, after all. And as Dunn points out, “dietitians love beans.” Coffee is a source of nutrients, including B vitamins, potassium and riboflavin. The beans are also rich in antioxidants, compounds that protect cells against damage. “Surprisingly, coffee is the single best source of antioxidants in the American diet,” Dunn says.
In addition to all of these benefits coffee has also been shown to decrease the risk level of several illnesses. A 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular coffee consumption lowers the odds of developing Type 2 diabetes. That’s true for decaf as well as the high-octane variety (but who wants decaf?!). Multiple studies have also shown that this magical beverage can lower your risk of neurological diseases including Alzheimers, Parkinsons and even depression. In a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of liver cancer and colorectal cancer — two of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the world!
So is there anything this magic bean can’t do? Unfortunately, just like anything else in this world you actually can have too much of a good thing. Excessive caffeine can cause dehydration. Some people find it makes them jittery or anxious. And too much caffeine can also interfere with a good night’s sleep, especially if you drink it late in the day. The easiest way to avoid these negative effects is to limit your intake. Experts recommend sticking to less than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. An 8-ounce cup of coffee typically has 80 mg to 100 mg of caffeine, which works out to about four cups a day. This can vary wildly from person to person so you want to err on the side of drinking less and see how your body reacts. I personally have found a few supplemental ingredients that can help curb the negative effects of caffeine and allow me to more fully enjoy my morning coffee (if that’s even possible). Theanine is one of my favorite of these powerhouse ingredients. In a 2007 study conducted by Kenta Kimura, Theanine was found to reduce psychological and physiological stress responses in humans, meaning it can help offset some of the jitters and stress that can be a side effect of caffeine. A 2013 study conducted by Keiko Unno found the anti-stress effect of Theanine highlighting a positive correlation among salivary α-amylase activity, trait anxiety and subjective stress. Basically these studies show that the stress relieving/calming effects of theanine have been proven to help curb any unwanted jitters or side effects of our beloved cup of morning Joe. I would highly recommend pairing your morning cup with a supplement like BrainTree Nutrition’s Chill. I personally formulated this product to not only help relieve stress and anxiety throughout the day but to help me even further enjoy my morning coffee!
Coffee is definitely one of the most powerful and fantastic gifts that mother nature has given us. It comes with some unbelievable benefits but needs to be enjoyed in moderation to avoid any unwanted consequences. You also want to beware of add-ins. Flavored syrups, sugar, whipped cream etc, coffee often goes hand-in-hand with additions that aren’t so nutritious. Coffee may be healthy, but what you add to it often isn’t, so I would recommend enjoying it in its natural state if you can stomach it. This whole conversation makes me want to brew a fresh pot! You should do the same and know you can enjoy this simple pleasure pretty much guilt free.
Stay well my friends, until next time.
Scott Solomon is a former collegiate and NFL athlete and the co-founder and CEO of BrainTree Nutrition. He is passionate about helping people live their happiest and healthiest lives. Through meticulous research and an unwavering commitment to transparency, quality and honesty, he and the entire team at BrainTree believe they have created some of the best and most effective supplements on the market. Please visit braintreenutrition.com to learn more.