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Is Coffee Healthy? 7 Reasons Why You Should Give It a Go

Some love it, others can’t even smell it. Yes, we are talking about coffee. However, if you are one of its supporters, then you will surely agree with us that there’s nothing better than a morning cup of freshly roasted and ground coffee. There are many ways to prepare and flavour it. Whether you fell in love with latte, cappuccino or espresso, you are probably wondering if coffee has some beneficial effects in addition to great taste. We have a simple answer – it has. And there are quite a lot of them. In today’s article, we will therefore summarize the most important benefits of drinking coffee for health, weight loss and other areas of life. Maybe we can convince those “non-believers” that having a cup of coffee sometimes is not a bad idea at all.

What does coffee contain?

We will probably not surprise you with the information that coffee contains caffeine, which can stimulate the body. This is probably the main reason why the coffee machine is your first stop in the morning after waking up.

However, one average cup of coffee also contains: [1]

  • vitamin B2 – 0,2 mg
  • vitamin B5 – 0,6 mg
  • manganese – 0,1 mg
  • potassium – 116 mg
  • magnesium – 7,1 mg
  • vitamin B3 – 0,5 mg

Coffee itself contains virtually no calories. But that can change quite quickly if you “improve” it with sugar, sweet syrups, milk, cream, or even whipped cream. A calorie-free drink can easily become a calorie bomb that energetically corresponds to the value of lunch. So if you do not want coffee to affect your progress in regard to losing weight, enjoy it as it is, or with a little bit of milk.

Caloric value of selected coffee variations [35–37]

Type of coffeeCaloric value
Costa Americano (250 ml)15 kcal
Costa Caramel Latte (250 ml)100 kcal
Costa Latte (250 ml)108 kcal
McCafé® Premium Roast Coffee (any size)0 kcal
McCafé® Iced Latte (Medium) 120 kcal
McCafé® Cappuccino (Medium)160 kcal
McCafé® Mocha Frappé (Medium)500 kcal
Starbucks Filter Coffee (grande)3 kcal
Starbucks Cappuccino with semi-skimmed milk (Grande)143 kcal
Starbucks Caffe Latte with whole milk (Grande)228 kcal
Starbucks Matcha Tea Cream Frappuccino ® with oat milk (Grande)356 kcal
How many calories coffee has at Starbucks, Costa and McCafé

How much caffeine can we take per day?

If we follow the general recommendations focused on caffeine intake, we can treat ourselves with up to 400 mg per day. This amount is found in about 5 cups of coffee (espresso, cappuccino or latte). For instant coffee, you can add one more cup. Pregnant and lactating women should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine. Likewise, people suffering from cardiovascular diseases usually need to reduce the amount of caffeine ingested. In connection with drinking coffee, it is also necessary to keep in mind that each person is an individual and differs in response to caffeine. Some may have a cup of coffee in the evening and fall asleep in an hour, but others may have trouble falling asleep even a few hours after drinking coffee. This needs to be taken into account, and if you have a problem falling asleep after caffeine, it is advisable to indulge in coffee in the morning. [2–3]

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7 main benefits of coffee

Once we know what coffee contains, what its optimal intake is, and how many calories it can have when you add some sugar or milk, it’s time to move on to its benefits. Coffee doesn’t just taste delicious, it also has a positive effect on sports performance, health, weight loss and other areas of your life.

1. Increases physical performance

The results of the meta-analysis show that caffeine can generally increase performance by approximately 11%, which is certainly not a negligible value. This is, for example, thanks to its ability to delay fatigue and stimulate the central nervous system. According to other studies, endurance athletes, for example, can benefit from the effects of the caffeine in coffee, as it allows them to exercise longer. For example, it took longer for professional cyclists to get exhausted with 80% of the maximum oxygen consumption. For the placebo group, this ride lasted 75 minutes, and for the group which had 330 mg caffeine coffee, the ride time was extended to 96 minutes. Runners will also get their money’s worth. For trained individuals running 1500 m, their time improved by 4.2 seconds after ingestion of 150–200 mg of caffeine in the form of coffee before the performance. This study is also proof that lower doses of caffeine make sense.[4–7]

Coffee and caffeine help to increase performance

Moreover, the effect of caffeine in connection with performance was also evident in team sports. Acute ingestion of caffeine at doses ranging from 3 to 6 mg per kg of body weight has affected several aspects related to physical performance in team sports. Participants reported an increase in the distance they ran, the number of sprints, the height of single and repeated jumps. They also needed less time to complete the agility test. It can therefore be assumed that caffeine could also have a positive effect in sports such as football or basketball. [9]

For maximum support of sports performance, it is optimal to take caffeine approximately 30-60 minutes before training. And the good news is that both trained and untrained athletes can benefit from the positive effects of coffee. [40]

However, in connection with performance, we must not forget to mention another important indicator, which is the rate of perceived exertion. Studies have shown that different types of exercise reduced the rate of subjectively perceived exertion by 5.6% after caffeine ingestion. [8]

So if you find running or cycling beyond your limits, try to help yourself with some “doping” in the form of coffee charged with caffeine and maybe, during the exercise, you will change your opinion.

2. Increases mental performance

You will be particularly interested in this if you have intellectual work, or you have an important meeting, job interview, presentation or other event during which you want to be at the maximum concentration. The results of studies show that coffee can to some extent improve mental performance, shorten reaction times, increase cognitive alertness, and improvement was also confirmed in tasks that require long-term concentration. This improvement in long-term concentration and reaction time in relation to caffeine intake was also confirmed by other studies. [10–11]

Coffee is one of the nootropics, which is a general term for substances that support the cognitive functions of the brain. If you want to learn more and work on your concentration and mental performance, read our article Nootropics to Improve Brain and Memory Functions that You Need to Know.

3. Replenishes energy

As mentioned above, coffee contains caffeine, which is considered to be the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. It can block the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine in our body, which leads to drowsiness, malaise and fatigue. In this regard, caffeine is able to temporarily suppress fatigue, which results in you feeling that you have received a flood of new energy, and you are, once again, able to concentrate, learn or engage in more physically demanding activities. [12] [15]

Caffeine increases both physical and mental performance

4. Helps with weight loss

The caffeine contained in coffee is also a common component of fat burners. And no wonder. Thanks to its thermogenic effect, it can increase the production of body heat, and thus the number of calories burned. It can also increase blood pressure and heart activity, which leads to being more excited to exercise and expending more energy, which again increases the number of calories burned. Thanks to catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline), caffeine also supports the excretion of fat (fatty acids from adipose tissue), which can thus be used as a source of energy in working muscle. [33]

Some studies also work with the fact that caffeine at a dose of 200 mg (approximately 2.5 cups of coffee) can speed up metabolism by 3-11% for 3 hours. If your resting metabolism is, for example, 1450 kcal, you will normally burn 60 kcal per hour. If your metabolism speeds up by 11% for three hours, your output, thanks to caffeine, will increase by 20 kcal, which is not that much. [34]

So if you want to use coffee as a “fat burner”, be smart. Don’t expect to have a cup of coffee on the couch, a miracle will happen, and you will be slim by morning. Instead, try to treat yourself with a small espresso before training, which will not disrupt your stomach, and use its effects to wake you up and get the most out of the exercise. This way you increase the number of calories burned, and you have a chance to make losing weight easier. To learn more about fat burners, read our article How to Choose and Use the Most Effective Fat Burner?

Coffee and caffeine help burn fat, speed up metabolism and lose weight

5. Can make you happier

Coffee can make you happier for several reasons. The first is the fact that the caffeine present is able to improve the mood and subjective level of perceived anxiety. Another study on women even concludes that drinking 4 or more cups a day reduces the risk of suicide. However, the question is to what extent other factors also play a role that were not included in the research. Similarly, researchers concluded in a long-term study that higher coffee intake reduces the risk of developing depression. Again, however, other factors were not taken into account that could also have affected the final results. [10] [13–14]

This brings us to another reason how coffee can make us happy, and that is the occasion when we enjoy it. Who wouldn’t be in the mood for a weekend morning coffee drunk on a sunny terrace? In the same way, women in particular have to admit that stress does not stand a chance when talking to a friend for a few hours over coffee. Even a cup of coffee drunk alone in the afternoon can improve your mood, especially when you take a break during a busy day. Simply, in connection with your mood, it doesn’t always have to be just the effect of the coffee or caffeine itself. The occasion or the person you enjoy this drink with may also play a role. If you want to know more tips on how to be more satisfied and happier in life, read our article 12 Tips on How to Take a Positive Approach to Life Even in Difficult Life Situations.

6. Has a positive effect on health

Due to its composition, coffee has a positive effect on many areas related to health. Sure, coffee alone won’t completely save you. Ideally, it should be part of a balanced diet, which is supplemented by regular physical activity. That’s the only way you can fully support its potential. However, it already has certain effects just by itself.

Positive effect of coffee and caffeine on health

It reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

The effect of coffee on reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is unquestionable. Research differs on how effective coffee actually is in this regard. The reduction of the risk is most likely somewhere between 23-67%. Another study concludes that each cup of caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by an average of 7%, and a cup of decaffeinated coffee by approximately 6%. [21–23] [38–39]

Reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

Similarly, studies show that people who drink coffee regularly have a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease that occurs more often in people over 65 years of age. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it, so drinking coffee in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle can work to some extent as a kind of prevention. [24–25]

Reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease

Coffee works similarly in preventing the development of Parkinson’s disease, which is the second most common degenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Again, there is no effective treatment, so it is all the more important to pay attention to prevention. [26]

Helps protect your liver from cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a disease which causes necrosis of your livers, and ultimately completely disrupts their structure. It can be caused, for example, by alcohol, viral hepatitis, a metabolic disorder or the use of a drug. According to research, people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day have up to an 80% lower risk of developing the disease. [27–29]

Reduces the risk of developing some types of cancer

Scientific research shows that coffee also has a certain effect on reducing cancer, especially of the liver and colon. However, if you want to maximise this effect of coffee, it is again appropriate to support it with physical activities and a suitable diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which contain health-beneficial fibre. [30–31]

Reduces the risk of stroke

People with high blood pressure are often advised to limit their caffeine intake, which can exacerbate hypertension. However, this does not mean that coffee is bad for cardiovascular system. That is not the case. Studies confirm that regular coffee drinkers have an approximately 20% lower risk of having a stroke. [32]

Prolongs life

You may be surprised to learn that drinking coffee can prolong your life. This “superpower” goes hand in hand with its preventive measures in many areas related to health. If you are ever blamed for sitting over coffee and doing nothing, here’s how to justify your inaction. You are just simply prolonging your life and reducing the risk of developing many diseases. [19–20]

Coffee is healthy and prolongs life

Helps replenish antioxidants

Coffee is considered a great source of antioxidants. It even contains more of them than green tea or cocoa. According to scientists, we can find up to a thousand antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans and hundreds more are generated during roasting. For people who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, coffee can also be a great way to get these valuable substances into the body. This is also confirmed by studies. [18]

Antioxidants have an important role in our body. These are molecules that fight free radicals, or compounds, in the body that can, in higher quantities, damage our cells. And if you are, for example, a lover of cappuccino or café latte, you will surely be pleased that adding milk to coffee does not suppress its antioxidant power. [16] [17]

Coffee is a healthy drink rich in antioxidants

What’s should you remember?

Coffee undoubtedly has a positive effect on your health, mental and physical performance, energy level and feeling of happiness. In addition, it is a great source of antioxidants, which will be appreciated especially by people who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. No matter the reason you include coffee in your day, keep in mind that it probably won’t save you on its own. It is therefore ideal to take it as a normalpart of a healthy lifestyle, which inevitably includes a balanced diet and sports. And if you’re trying to lose weight, avoid over-sweetened frappés with whipped cream, which can replace lunch with its caloric value. Drinking them regularly could easily ruin your efforts to lose weight.

What about you – do you love or hate coffee? And how many cups of coffee do you treat yourself per day? Tell us what you think in the comments section, and if you liked the article, be sure to share it with your friends. Maybe they will be surprised at how miraculous the drink called coffee actually is.


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