Drinking coffee can have some pretty amazing health benefits. Coffee can even help you get lean because the combination of antioxidants and caffeine it contains will enhance the body’s use of fat for fuel. There’s nothing bad about this delicious wonder bean!
Research shows the health benefits of coffee include the following:
1) Association studies show the more coffee you drink a day, the lower your risk of death by all causes.
2) Coffee improves vascular health, decreases risk of diabetes, and lowers risk of heart disease. Although caffeine may raise blood pressure acutely, it has no long-term effect on blood pressure in the vast majority of people.
3) Coffee is jam packed with antioxidants called caffeic and chlorogenic acid, which lower your risk of a variety of cancers, and are linked to HDL increases.
4) Drinking coffee increases the metabolic rate so that your burn more calories and it can help shift the body to burn fat rather than glucose for energy. A series of studies show that supplementing with coffee that is particularly high in antioxidants can lead to significant loss of 4 percent body fat over 6 weeks.
5) Prior to training, whether lifting or doing intervals, a large dose of coffee can increase your performance. The benefit is greater power output, more motivation, and a tendency to self-select heavier loads and push yourself harder in training.
6) Coffee can improve reaction time and concentration, particularly when sleep deprived.
To get the benefits of coffee, you must follow a few simple practices. First, avoid putting sugar in your coffee. This is very important because consuming any sugar, or carbohydrates, with coffee will completely negate the stimulatory effect of caffeine. A recent study showed that when a group of volunteers ate a high carbohydrate meal when taking caffeine, the stimulatory effect was reduced by 90 percent compared to a group that just took caffeine in a fasted state.
To get the performance enhancing and fat burning effects of coffee during workouts, it’s necessary to avoid all carbs. A second reason to avoid carbs when drinking coffee is that it has been shown to acutely decrease insulin sensitivity, while simultaneously freeing up fatty acids. Don’t muck things up by throwing carbs into the mix. Therefore, if you must sweeten your coffee, do so with stevia, but avoid sugar and fake sweeteners at all costs.
A second factor to consider in preparing coffee is that research suggests you can maximize antioxidant content by brewing it with a percolator or French press. However, these two methods have been shown to increase the content of a compound called cafestol in the coffee, which has been shown to elevate cholesterol levels.
Therefore, if cholesterol is a concern, you may want to use unbleached coffee filters to brew your coffee, or avoid it altogether.
Another option would be to use a green coffee been extract to get the fat burning and antioxidant benefits without worrying about the cafestol effect.
Skinner, T., et al. Influence of Carbohydrate on Serum Caffeine Concentrations Following Caffeine Ingestion. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
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