COFFEE & YOUR BODY
I love nothing more than having a nice hot coffee in the morning and several throughout the day. Sometimes I wonder if it’s that good for me and maybe I should cut down. Maybe even give it up? I hear green tea is good for weightloss but I really really love my long black! I’m hoping that the 5 long blacks a day I have are helping my metabolism or at least not doing me any harm. But what does this popular drink actually do to our bodies and does it have any significant effect on metabolism and weight loss? Read on to find out for sure!
So I’ve gone off and done a little bit of research (so you don’t have to) about my favourite drink. This is what I’ve discovered;
Coffee is a stimulant to your central nervous system. I feel like it makes me more awake and alert, especially in the morning. Too much and it might give you the jitters and keep you awake at night. It can also improve work and exercise performance. The belief is that it leads to raised adrenaline and increased blood flow to the heart and muscles.
IMPROVES YOUR MOOD
Coffee also releases the feel good hormone dopamine, reducing anxiety and just making you ‘feel good’!
RAISES STOMACH ACIDS
For your digestive system, coffee can raise the acids in your stomach and aid digestion. On an empty stomach though, those increased acids can cause reflux or heartburn.
MAKES YOU PEE
Most people also know that it works like a diuretic, making you pee more often! But research has shown that the diuretic effect is not enough to outweigh the actual fluid intake of drinking coffee. This means you’re not about to become dehydrated by drinking it.
INCREASES BLOOD PRESSURE
People who already have blood pressure or heart rhythms issues should probably check with their doctor regarding coffee intake, but for the rest of us a moderate amount is not likely to have any long-term effects. After drinking it your blood pressure will rise a smidge but not to any dangerously high level. You can read more here about the effects of caffeine on your body.
COFFEE & CHOLESTEROL
There has been some reports on coffee increasing cholesterol. Funnily enough this doesn’t seem to be directly because of the coffee but more to do with the paper filters used in making coffee. They have some cholesterol raising components that can drip through to the coffee! This is obviously not going to be an issue if you don’t drink that sort of coffee!
COFFEE AND WEIGHT LOSS
The good news is that coffee does have a positive effect on your metabolism and weight loss in the following ways:
It has caffeine, theobromine and theophylline that all have a stimulant effect. As a stimulant caffeine sends signals to the fat cells telling them to break down. As it also increases levels of adrenaline, that too sends signals to fat cells to break down fat.
It does increase our metabolic rate by 3 – 11%. This is mainly directly because of that breakdown of fat. Ironically it has a lesser effect if you’re obese!
And it also contains chlorogenic acid which can slow the absorption of carbohydrates!
Also it is good to remember that people do develop tolerances as time goes on and possibly reducing its effectiveness in raising metabolism. It may be a good idea to drink coffee on and off to maximise those weight-loss benefits. For example, going off it for 2 weeks and then back on for 2 and repeat.
Being mindful of how you drink your coffee is also important.
If your favourite coffee is a cappuccino, latte or flat white (with skim milk) I have bad news for you! Each one of those equals 171 calories. Four of those in a day comes to 684 calories!!! Add 16 calories with every teaspoon of sugar on top of that! If you have yours with full fat milk, then you can imagine how losing weight is going to be next to impossible!
I have mine long and black! It has been a process! I have chosen to do that to avoid the calories of milk and sugar and then to avoid artificial sweeteners as well. Try it and you’ll really discover where the good coffees are! Without milk and sugar there is nowhere for the bad ones to hide!
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
The general consensus seems to be that around 400mg of caffeine a day is the healthiest amount to consume. Here’s a quick guide to the caffeine content (mgs) of common drinks.
Green tea 35-70
Black tea 60-90
Red bull 75-80
I’d avoid the coke and the energy drinks for obvious reasons. They have zilch nutritional value, heaps of sugar and artificial additives! Coffee far outweighs them in health benefits including the fact it has huge amounts of antioxidants!
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photo credits in order of images; Glen Carrie via visualhunt, Rosemarie Voegtli via visualhunt cc by and Missylegacy via visualhunt.