Coffee has been apart of my life for quite some time. It is associated with warmness, relaxation, and cozy Sunday mornings. However, there is debate on whether or not the bean is beneficial for your health. We’ll take a further look into the pros and cons.
Surprisingly, the coffee’s tree fruit is called a cherry. They grow best in subtropical and tropical climates. The cherries go through processing, where they are either dried in the sun, or the beans are separated from the pulp. This will continue until the cherries moisture reaches 11%. From here, they go through hulling, polishing, and grating and sorting. Next, they are exported, inspected, and finally roasted-which brings us to the coffee we know and love. It’s our jobs to grind the beans and enjoy a smooth brew.
(checkout http://www.bizbrain.org/coffee/ for more info on coffee processing)
So, how could a natural bean be bad for your health?
In one short answer: CAFFEINE.
When consumed, caffeine enters the bloodstream in a mere 40-60 minutes, reaching all organs, and causing physiological changes that can last up to six hours. To your body, caffeine resembles adenosine, which slows down the nervous system. The nerve’s adenosine receptor can’t decipher between caffeine and adenosine. This causes a competition between the two for receptor binding, and when caffeine wins, the body is put into the “fight or flight” response. This causes pupils to dilate, increased heart rate, blood shunts to the muscles, increased blood pressure, contraction of muscles, and release of extra glucose into the blood stream (Keiser & Armsey, 2006).
In short, the physiological effects of caffeine are vast and long lasting.
However, there is some good news!
There are several other benefits of coffee such as:
- lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes (Archives of Internal Medicine)
- lowered risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (European Journal of Neurology)
- protection against Parkinson’s Disease (Archives of Neurology )
- lower suicide and depression (Archives of Internal Medicine)
- less risk of heart disease (Korean researchers)
- cut post workout pain by up to 48% (Journal of Pain, 2007)
- lower risk of Multiple Sclerosis (Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry)
Research has shown caffeine enhances athletic performance. It has been shown to help sustain duration, quicken speed in endurance events, and decrease perceived exertion (hard tasks won’t seem/ feel as taxing). The benefits are stronger in nonusers than regular coffee drinkers. Nonusers are those who consume less than 50 mg of caffeine, and regular drinkers are those who consume more than 300 mg per day. One (8 oz.) cup of coffee is approximately 95 mg.
Overall, if you enjoy the familiarity and taste of one cup of coffee in the morning, don’t deprive yourself! If you live a healthy lifestyle, eat nutrition dense meals, and exercise, then one cup of coffee will certainly not deter all of your progress. In fact, you may even experience some of the benefits.
Enjoy your cup o’ joe 🙂
ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist textbook