Cappuccino, macchiato, French press, espresso, Americano, latte….it’s as though coffee lovers speak an entirely different language! And it’s definitely a language of love – when you fall in love with coffee, it’s pretty much a lifetime commitment.
The good news is, that’s OK! Numerous and repeated studies show that moderate consumption of coffee – around two to three cups a day – is actually good for us.
Coffee Is Good For Our Brains
The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. When it hits the brain, caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This in turn increases the neuronal firing in our brains, releasing dopamine and norepinephrine. All of which translates into significant benefits, including improvements in our memory, mood, reaction time, vigilance and general cognitive function.
In addition to making us smarter in the short term, coffee also helps to protect our brains in old age. Studies show that higher caffeine intake over decades reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease – the most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world. Coffee has also been shown to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Coffee Is Good For Our Bodies
Coffee contains large amounts of potent antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and hydroxyhydroquinone. These potent antioxidants are thought to prevent a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, while very effective in neutralising free radicals and preventing oxidative stress.
The Pan American Health Organization has recommended the consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee per day to reduce risk of chronic diseases and improve general public health. Chlorogenic acid in coffee has shown to play a key role in improving glucose metabolism, reduce insulin responses and has antioxidant effects such as reducing LDL oxidation (lowering the risk of developing coronary heart disease).
Studies also link moderate coffee consumption to a reduction in the risk of liver, kidney, and to a lesser extent, premenopausal breast cancers as well as colorectal cancers.
So as long as you keep your consumption moderate, and try not to drink coffee after 2pm if you have trouble falling asleep, it’s absolutely fine to satisfy your coffee craving!