Coffee Does More Than Get Us Out of Bed!
There are few things that unite us more than the universal crave for caffeine when we get out of bed in the morning. For some people, this means a cup of tea in the morning; for others, it’s a caffeinated soda; but for most, it’s the simple cup of coffee. Whether on the go or brewed from home, many people claim their day doesn’t begin until they drink their good ol’ cup of Joe. Especially with this week following Daylight Savings, I'm sure we have all found ourselves pouring a little extra coffee in our mugs the past few days.
The good news is that scientific research is now telling us how a morning cup of coffee actually has health benefits beyond just the energy boost. To begin, coffee is filled with antioxidants, which work to fight inflammation throughout the body. We typically think of antioxidants coming our diets, as they are commonly found in fruits like blueberries or dark chocolate. However, coffee has a high concentration of antioxidants, which actually makes it one of the leading sources of a natural anti-inflammatory in our regular diet. And just for review, if the word antioxidant is completely new to you, think of it as a compound that get rid of the “bad” chemicals left in our diet from processed food or everyday chemical exposure. Essentially, our bodies need antioxidants to rid ourselves of the free radicals that commonly lead to bigger problems such as cancer, diabetes or heart issues.
Some other benefits about coffee include how this source of caffeine actually plays a role in boosting our metabolism and memories. There have been several scientific studies conducted where the authors looked the relationship between memory capabilities and coffee consumption. The general consensus is that those who consume 1-2 cups of coffee regularly tend to have decreased risk for Alzheimer’s. So while most people might be drinking a cup of Joe for the short term benefit of getting themselves through the day, there is a general lifetime benefit as well. And if coupled with food in the morning, coffee also has the capability to boost your metabolism throughout the day.
Of course, too much coffee can end up being a bad thing. The first thing to note is that caffeine works as a dehydrant in our bodies by pulling the fluids from our bloodstream inwards. This influx of fluids can be a positive thing, as it stimulates many people’s digestive systems. However, you should always make sure to drink a glass of water before or during drinking coffee, as dehydration can easily counteract the caffeine. In fact, one of the best things you can do for yourself in the morning is to wake up and drink a full glass of water before doing anything else, as your brain is already dehydrated from your overnight slumber. Also, as you may have experienced before, too much coffee may lead to anxiety or shaking, as the stimulation can be too much sometimes. The best ways to prevent negative side effects of coffee are to make sure you are eating something (even if it’s small) and drink water!
The traditional culture is to drink a cup of freshly brewed, hot coffee. However, there has been a somewhat recent trend in the push for iced coffee, especially popular with companies like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. But even more recently, cold brew has made a name for itself. Since it is also served cold, there is a common misconception that cold brew and iced coffee are the same thing, but this is not true!
So what exactly is all the hype about cold brew?? While traditional coffee – both hot and cold – uses heat to extract the flavors, cold brew uses time. Companies prepare cold brew by soaking ground beans overnight for 12-24 hours. This creates a less acidic and bitter flavor profile, along with an overall stronger taste. The support behind cold brew is strong, as it not only has a stronger caffeine dose, but it also has a higher concentration of antioxidants. Therefore, fans of cold brew argue that it not only improves the taste, but also increasing caffeine and overall health benefits. In fact, check out this new startup called Speedie Bean for their fresh and environmentally friendly product HERE!! Speedie Bean was started by students, delivers cold brew right to your door, and is incredibly sustainable – what could be better?
Regardless of how you drink your morning cup of Joe or where it comes from, know that your body is benefitting beyond the momentary energy boost. Just make sure to drink water and eat food with it to get the maximum benefits!