8 Side Effects of Drinking Coffee, According to Dietitians
Americans love coffee. According to a study commissioned by the National Coffee Association that surveyed 3,000 Americans about their coffee drinking habits, 64 percent of Americans drink a cup of coffee every day. While we may be drinking it for the obvious energy boost, energy is not the only benefit the dark drink offers.
"Caffeine, one of the main components of coffee, works by blocking receptors in your body that tell you that you're tired," says registered dietitian Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDE, CPT, owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesperson for New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "This is why drinking coffee makes your 'spidey senses' tingly." Helping your body operate at its prime isn't the only thing coffee can do for you.
Here are 8 benefits of coffee you should know. And remember, coffee may have plenty of benefits, but there are also some downsides if you're overdoing it. Don't miss these 5 Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Coffee next.
Coffee can improve your workout performance.
"Caffeine is particularly helpful for those who work out. Caffeine found in coffee has been shown to increase epinephrine levels in your blood as well as stimulate the breakdown of fat making free fatty acids available as fuel," says Kelli McGrane MS, RD, registered dietitian and Lose It! nutrition consultant. "And these two factors together can help fuel and energize your workout."
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Coffee may reduce your risk of depression.
"Coffee has been associated with a reduced risk of depression and suicide – but it's unknown if that benefit is due to the coffee or the caffeine in it," says Debbie Petitpain, MS, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Coffee is so widely consumed that caffeine is the most used psychoactive agent with 85% of US adults consuming it daily. Thus, it can be difficult to distinguish the benefits attributed to coffee from its caffeine content."
Coffee's polyphenols may lower your risk of diabetes.
"Polyphenols are a wide range of chemicals that are found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, tea, and coffee," says Valdez. "There is evidence that the polyphenols in coffee lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and perhaps colon cancer as well." Although polyphenols are a common component in both coffee and tea, there are a few things that differentiate these caffeinated morning beverages: Coffee or Tea: Which Is Healthier for You?
Coffee may improve your feelings towards people.
"Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world. 'Do you want to meet over a cup of coffee?' is a neutral, friendly way to extend to a friend, colleague, lover or stranger the invitation to spend time together," says Petitpain. "In one study, participants who briefly held a cup of hot (versus iced) coffee judged the person they were interacting with as having a warmer, more generous and caring personality."
Coffee's antioxidants may reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
"Coffee is surprisingly rich in antioxidants – naturally-occurring plant compounds that have been shown to help protect against several chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer," says McGrane. "Coffee is particularly rich in an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which has been linked with helping to reduce cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels. Of course, other lifestyle factors are also important in reducing your chronic disease risk, including diet, exercise, and not smoking."
Coffee may reduce the risk of heart disease.
"The lowest risk appears for those drinking 2-5 8 oz. cups per day," says Petitpain. "This amount of coffee may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease; however, unfiltered coffee (e.g. French press and espresso shots) contain an ingredient called cafestol that can raise LDL, the 'bad' cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease."
Coffee may boost brain health.
"In addition to giving you more energy and helping you concentrate in the morning, observational studies have also found a link between regular coffee intake and a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases," says McGrane. "While more research is needed, a recent study found that when coffee beans are roasted, they produce a set of compounds called phenylindanes, which have been shown to help protect against excessive buildup of proteins in the brain that are thought to play a key role in declining brain function."
Coffee may help you lose weight.
Drinking coffee may lower your body fat. Drinking four cups of coffee daily could reduce body fat by about 4%, according to a recent study. by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers. To blast even more weight, try these 40 Surprisingly Easy Tricks You Can Use to Lose Weight.