After one too many long nights at the office, it’s not uncommon to experience mental fatigue. In addition to getting your mental health back on track to make sure it doesn’t lead to more serious health problems, drink some coffee: A 2010 review in the journal Nutrition found caffeine can help decrease the exhaustion you’re feeling by perking your body up.
Caffeine affects every person differently, so if you experience any negative side effects, consider cutting your coffee consumption accordingly. It takes about six hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off, so limit coffee drinking to early in the day, or switch to decaf, which only contains about 2 to 12 mg of caffeine per eight ounces. Always taper your coffee consumption gradually. Avoid quitting coffee cold turkey; doing so can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms that may include severe headache, muscle aches and fatigue which can last for days.
Other studies have tried to pinpoint exactly what in caffeine is helping to halt the onset of these diseases. A 2014 study (14) found that caffeine blocks various tau receptors (a protein that contributes to brain cell degeneration). Another study found that caffeinated coffee increased GCSF (15) - a substance greatly decreased in Alzheimer’s patients - levels in the bloodstream.
How it works: Antioxidants fight inflammation, an underlying cause of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, atherosclerosis and many types of cancer. They also neutralize free radicals, which occur naturally as a part of everyday metabolic functions, but which can cause oxidative stress that leads to chronic disease. In other words, antioxidants help keep us healthy at the micro-level by protecting our cells from damage. Finally, chlorogenic acid, an important antioxidant found almost exclusively in coffee, is also thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver, making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver. Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients.
Here's what you should know: Collagen is the protein-rich connective material between tissue and bones (so, yup, veg-heads, you’ll have to sit this one out). It comes in a powder form, so you can stir it into pretty much anything to get a major protein boost that will help you kick-start your day. There’s also some preliminary evidence it can help keep your skin hydrated, improve alcohol-induced liver damage, and support joint health. Look for a brand that doesn't change the flavor, like Further Food Collagen Peptides, so you aren't scrunching up your nose at every sip.
When the morning rush gets between us and breakfast, we become our worst selves (hangry, stuck in rush-hour traffic, staring at a giant billboard of a breakfast sandwich). But here’s a way to grab breakfast and coffee on your way out the door: Brew some caffeine-packed oats in your thermos for a delicious morning meal. Not only are you getting your energizing fix, but you're also eating a solid breakfast because oatmeal comes packed with fiber and minerals like magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.
How it works: Scientists believe that coffee may be beneficial in keeping diabetes at bay in several ways: (1) by helping the body use insulin and protecting insulin-producing cells, enabling effective regulation of blood sugar; (2) preventing tissue damage; and (3) and battling inflammation, a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. One component of coffee known as caffeic acid has been found to be particularly significant in reducing the toxic accumulation of abnormal protein deposits (amyloid fibrils) found in people with type 2 diabetes. Decaffeinated coffee is thought to be as beneficial, or more so, than regular.
Need a little boost to get you through your HIIT workout? A 2013 study from PLoS One shows that athletes who consumed coffee an hour before exercise had greater performance than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. Plus, a 2015 study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that people who drink coffee before a workout burn more calories after exercise, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This means that even if your spin class is over, your body will continue to burn more calories. We’ll drink to that! ☕
You don’t have to be a trained cardiologist to see that that coffee supports heart health. This, it does so by protecting the heart’s muscular chamber against artery damage that may result from inflammation. This way, various heart diseases are warded off including common ailments such as hypertension, thrombosis, heart attack, heart failure, among others
One UCLA study even famously reversed some symptoms of Alzheimer’s. What was the methodology used? A Paleo diet and lifestyle! Since a typical Paleo diet includes coconut oil, it is wise to add a little bit of this fat to your morning coffee. I personally love the taste of coconut oil in coffee, even though I am typically not a coffee drinker. Yum!
Some curious minds wanted to know exactly who was protected. And why? How? These studies showed that in people with Type 2 diabetes coffee intake was correlated with insulin spikes and increased blood sugar after a meal. Further research has shown that the caffeine in coffee might be the culprit responsible for the secretion of higher levels of insulin from the pancreas.
Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master's degree in science journalism from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Hawaii. His work covers all areas of science, from the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, to the drug and alcohol habits of ancient cultures, to new advances in solar cell technology. On a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video games for as long as he can remember, and is probably playing a game at this very moment.
You might think that nonfat, sugar-free vanilla syrup is a healthy choice, but low-calorie doesn’t always translate to health benefits. Swinney suggests weaning yourself off sweeteners completely if you can, but if you can’t, be super picky about the additives you’re putting into your brew. “Pick organic cream to whiten your coffee or make your own packaging-free alternative milk from oats or nuts. Creamers often have artificial flavors, sweeteners, and other additives, so you’re better off using organic milk or cream plus organic brown sugar,” she says. Next, don’t miss these 13 surprising uses for coffee.