Added: 23rd April 2015
Approximately 70 million cups of coffee are consumed every day all over the UK. Despite its popularity, coffee has a rather negative public image, as there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the so-called liquid gold. However, recent studies have shown that coffee can actually be beneficial in many ways, which include everything from lowering the risk of suffering certain illnesses to improving physical endurance during workouts. In this article we look at the health benefits of coffee and debunk some common myths about this drink.
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants
A 2010 study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that coffee is among the top-100 sources of polyphenols, which have significant antioxidant effects on the body. These antioxidants counter the effect of free radicals, reducing the risk of suffering premature ageing, the early onset of degenerative diseases, and certain types of cancer. In addition, a University of Reading study found that medium-roast beans have a higher antioxidant content than dark-roast beans.
Coffee and type 2 diabetes: an unlikely partnership?
For years, the belief that people affected by type 2 diabetes should avoid drinking coffee has been widespread. However, the NHS has echoed the latest findings in medical research, which suggest that drinking up to 3 cups of coffee a day can actually reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by anything between 11 and 25 per cent. Moreover, coffee has a high content of anti-oxidants and magnesium, which are thought to improve insulin sensitivity.
Improved physical performance
A recent study carried out at a Yorkshire-based laboratory found that a moderate caffeine intake can have a positive effect on endurance and physical performance. According to the study, drinking a cup of coffee (100mg of caffeine) one hour before exercising can improve endurance by up to 30 per cent by boosting energy production and improving explosive power. Researchers claim that coffee acts on the central nervous system and that it can be especially beneficial to those who practise high-intensity workouts like running, aerobics, boxing, football, rugby, and swimming.
The feel-good factor
Can coffee turn you into a moody caffeine-addicted person? Researchers at the University of Bristol have suggested that on the contrary, coffee can be a mood enhancer, particularly when your immune system is under attack due to a cold or the flu. Moderate caffeine consumption can have an uplifting effect and trigger the feel-good factor that many coffee drinkers are certainly familiar with.