While many of us cannot imagine Monday morning — or any other morning for that matter — without a steaming hot cup of coffee by our side, coffee can do much more than get us going and boost our energy. While coffee has traditionally been thought of as a stimulant that can make us nervous and jittery if we overindulge, it turns out regular coffee consumption is linked to some impressive health and fitness benefits. Consider the following:
Coffee and the heart
Studies have been unable to find a direct link between drinking coffee and an increased chance of developing heart disease, the Mayo Clinic reports. In fact, most research has found that consuming coffee on a regular basis leads to a reduced chance of early mortality, as well as a possible decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, notes Heart MD Institute, a meta-analysis by researchers in China looked at over 20 studies that involved more than 400,000 subjects. After examining the data, they concluded that drinking coffee does not increase a person’s chances of developing arterial disease. Conversely, women who consume about two cups a day have a decreased risk.
Coffee and type 2 diabetes
Interestingly, coffee also seems to help prevent type 2 diabetes. People who regularly drink coffee have a lowered risk of developing the health condition, As WebMD notes. After looking at nine studies on coffee’s effect on type 2 diabetes, researchers concluded people who drink six or seven cups a day are 35 percent less likely to get the disease. Granted, this is a large amount of coffee, even for the most devoted java lover. Fortunately, the studies also found that drinking four cups a day leads to a 28 percent lower risk. Generally speaking, the researchers felt the naturally-occurring minerals in coffee like chromium and magnesium can help regulate blood sugar levels.
Coffee and fitness
Drinking coffee prior to working out can boost short-term exercise performance, the American College of Sports Medicine notes. As research has found, this effect lasts for around five minutes when the athlete is at 90 to 100 percent of maximum oxygen uptake. Scientists believe this boost in athletic performance may be the caused by caffeine’s impact on what they call “muscle anaerobic energy provision and contraction,” as well as a possible role in the central nervous system.
A few words about coffee and calories
It’s worth noting that while black coffee contains zero calories, many people love to add sugar and cream to it, which can boost its caloric content significantly. Blended frozen coffee drinks are definitely delicious, but they have a lot of extra calories from fat and sugar. If you are trying to maintain your current weight or drop some extra pounds and still want to get some of the health benefits of coffee, you might want to stick to regular black coffee in your Keurig. Skip the fancy flavored coffees that have added sugar and flavorings.