It’s 5 A.M. and you’re reluctantly getting up to do your morning exercises before you have to prepare breakfast and drop the kids off at school. Believe it or not, having a cup or two of coffee now instead of during breakfast or before heading out to work can improve your workout. In fact, having another two cups of coffee throughout the day, like during lunch, protects you from chronic illnesses like cancer! Sounds crazy? Well, scientists don’t think so.
Drinking coffee gets you more kick from your workouts.
Drinking coffee before working out increases your metabolism while you exercise, according to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. They found that you’ll burn 15 percent more calories if you drink 4.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of your weight. If you weigh 110 pounds, that’s around 224 milligrams of caffeine or 2.5 cups of coffee.
Research also shows that drinking regular coffee increases your blood flow by 30 percent, which allows your muscles more oxygen during your workout. They also found that drinking two or three cups of coffee an hour prior to a 30-minute high-intensity workout reduces muscle pain. That means drinking coffee also helps you endure longer during strength or endurance workouts.
If you do endurance training you’re most likely doing intense workouts everyday. Thus, your glycogen stores must be replenished quickly. Muscles store and use glycogen to give you power and endurance during exercise. If your muscles’ glycogen stores are high you can last longer and deliver more power. Fortunately, drinking coffee with your post-workout meal helps with that! Research shows that a diet of caffeine and carbohydrates increases your muscle glycogen by 66 percent four hours after an intense, glycogen-depleting workout.
Drinking coffee also protects your muscles in the long term. Studies find that regularly consuming coffee offsets natural muscle strength loss due to aging. This isn’t limited to the muscles you actively tone during your workouts – the protective effects were observed in the diaphragm too, protecting your body’s ability to breathe as you get older. Researchers believe from these findings that your coffee habit may preserve your overall fitness and even decrease your risk for age-related injuries too.
Drinking coffee helps prevent chronic diseases.
If you party hard on Fridays after work with your friends, remember your cup of Java! Research by the University of Southampton finds that drinking four cups of coffee daily reduces your risk of developing cirrhosis from long-term alcohol consumption by 65 percent.
These daily four cups of coffee also protect you from other chronic diseases as well. Research by Harvard University finds that drinking one to five cups of regular or decaf coffee everyday helps protect you from cardiovascular disease, stroke, neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and diabetes mellitus due to coffee’s bioactive compounds which protect against blood-brain barrier blockage and reduce systematic inflammation and insulin resistance. However, drinking more than five cups reverses these health benefits.
Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Neurology and Psychiatry finds that drinking at least four cups of coffee everyday reduces your risk for developing multiple sclerosis by 26 to 31 percent. There seem to be compounds in coffee that have neuroprotective effects.
Drinking four cups of coffee everyday helps prevent cancer too. Another Harvard study found that colon cancer patients in remission who drank four or more cups of coffee had a 42 percent decreased risk of cancer recurrence and a 34 percent decrease in overall mortality (including cancer-caused mortality).
Ultimately, researchers found that drinking coffee reduces overall mortality by 15 percent.
Late night studying with coffee to keep you awake is actually good for you.
Drinking coffee while you study improves your memory. A John Hopkins study found that consuming caffeine enhances your memory for 24 hours. Caffeinated participants scored higher than non-caffeinated participants when shown images and asked to recall them. Remember that next time you’re studying for grad finals or working late finishing paperwork!
If you chug a lot of coffee to boost your energy don’t be ashamed – it’s actually good for you! Drinking coffee before and after exercising enhances your performance and supports your muscles’ recovery. Coffee is also holistically healthy, helping prevent a wide range of diseases. Coffee also helps you cram for exams! But to be on the safe side, drink only four cups of coffee daily – you don’t want to reverse these health benefits.