9 Impressive Health Benefits of Coffee

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Coffee is incredibly healthy. Research has recently found coffee has impressive health benefits such as helping prevent diabetes and improve liver and brain health.

It’s the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water. And did you know that 54% of Americans report drinking coffee every day (1)?

Personally, I’m not a morning person, but the robust scent of coffee brewing helps me (and several members of our family of six) wake up each morning.

The delightful experience of drinking coffee brings with it the promise of each new day. Who can relate? 🙂

Coffee is extremely high in antioxidants, which can help protect against aging, oxidative stress and many diseases, such as cancer.

Nutrition Information About Coffee

One cup of coffee has about:

  • 2 – 5 calories
  • 0 sugar
  • 10 mg magnesium
  • 0 carbs
  • 124 mg potassium
  • 0 fat
  • 11% of the RDA of Vitamin B2
  • 6% of the RDA of Vitamin B6

The amount of caffeine in coffee varies, depending on the type of bean used and the manufacturer.

Health Benefits of Coffee

1. Coffee Is High In Antioxidants

According to research, coffee provides more antioxidants in American diets than even fruits and vegetables (2).

Antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body. And, because inflammation leads to all sorts of diseases and conditions, this is a very good thing for coffee drinkers!

The polyphenols found in coffee may also help prevent oxidative stress and raise the body’s immune function.

The strong antioxidants, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid found in coffee, help fight free radical damage.

2. Coffee May Reduce The Risk Of Some Types Of Cancer

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, but drinking coffee may help prevent it.

In fact, research has shown coffee drinkers have up to a 40% reduced risk of liver cancer (3) (4).

Colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death worldwide (5). In a large study of 489,706 people, drinking 4-5 cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by 15% (6).

3. Coffee May Improve Brain Function And Give You More Energy

health benefits of coffee
Drinking coffee can give you more energy!

The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, which can help you be more alert and diminish fatigue (7).

Coffee has also be shown to help reduce your risk, or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults (8).

In other research coffee was shown to protect against Parkinson’s disease (9). Also, patients with Parkinson’s were shown to have an overall improvement of symptoms when they drank coffee regularly.

4. Coffee Can Boost Your Metabolism

The caffeine in coffee was shown to boost the metabolism 3-11% (10).  Most supplements designed to burn fat contain caffeine.

Another study showed caffeine can boost the burning of fat by as much as 29% in people who are lean, and 10% in people who are obese (11). That’s pretty impressive!

If you add coconut oil to your coffee you might able to boost your fat burn even more.

(For more about natural ways to burn fat, please check out 8 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.)

5. Coffee Could Lower Your Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

About 300 million people worldwide have Type 2 Diabetes, and those numbers continue to increase.

Research suggests drinking coffee (six cups or more per day) could lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes (12).

Another study showed that people who drink four or more cups of coffee per day could reduce their risk of Type 2 Diabetes by 50% (13)!

If you’re drinking this much coffee, just make sure to drink plenty of water to counteract the diuretic effects of coffee.

6. Coffee Can Help Protect Your Liver

The liver is the largest organ (and gland) in your body. It’s responsible for more than 500 important roles in the body. It removes toxins and produces chemicals which help with digestion.

And, a fun fact about the liver is that it is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate! Pretty cool, huh?

Cirrhosis of the liver happens when healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue. This is caused by alcohol or viral hepatitis B and C (14).

People who drink 4 or more cups of coffee per day have up to an 80% reduction in their risk for cirrhosis of the liver, or alcoholic liver disease (15).

health benefits of coffee
Coffee can boost your mood and help you feel happier.

7. Coffee Can Help You Feel Happier

Depression is an illness that affects the brain chemistry. Depression has a variety of symptoms such as insomnia, feeling hopeless or worthless, feeling persistently sad or irritable and having trouble concentrating.

Coffee is a mild anti-depressant because it aids in the production of neurotransmitters, like seratonin and dopamine.

A Harvard study showed drinking 2-4 cups of coffee per day could reduce the risk of suicide by 50% (16).

8. Coffee Boosts Your Athletic Performance And Endurance

Coffee is a performance enhancer.

Many athletes know drinking a cup of coffee before athletic training or an event can boost their endurance and performance.

Caffeine increases the levels of Adrenaline in the blood (17).  This “fight or flight” hormone primes the body for intense exertion.

In fact, caffeine can boost athletic performance by about 11-12% (18).

9. Coffee Can Improve Heart Health And Reduce The Risk Of Strokes

Consuming coffee regularly is associated with reduced mortality for all causes, including cardiovascular disease (19).

In addition, coffee was shown to reduce the rate of heart problems and stroke (20) (21).

If you like to grind your own coffee beans you might want to try this delicious Lavazza Super Crema Espresso – Whole Bean Coffee.

Or if you prefer ground coffee

The Takeaway

Despite any bad press you may have heard about coffee, it actually healthy and chock full of antioxidants.

Regularly drinking coffee can help with athletic performance, boost your metabolism, protecting against cancer, strokes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

All in all, coffee is pretty awesome, don’t you think?

Drink coffee. Be well!

You might like to try My Healthy Coffee Drink (With Coconut Oil) Recipe.


Can you think of more health benefits of coffee you would add to the list? Please leave your comments or questions below. I’d love to connect with you!


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Extreme Weight Loss And Metabolism: “The Biggest Loser”

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If you’ve ever tried losing weight you might know how difficult it is.

Truth be told, weight loss is often more challenging and complex than the simplified “eat less, work out more” mentality would have us think. Anyone who has tried to lose “those last ten pounds” can attest to this.

Effects Of Extreme Weight Loss On The Metabolism

A recent study published in the medical journal, Obesity, measured the effects of extreme weight loss on the basal metabolic rate (BMR),  resting metabolic rate (RMR) and body composition of fourteen former contestants from “The Biggest Loser”.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the study focused on where the contestants were six years after losing all the weight. (1) Four of them now weigh more than when they were on the show, and all but one of the contestants have gained a significant amount of the weight back.

One contestant, Danny Cahill, lost an astounding 239 pounds in seven months. I didn’t even know this was humanly possible! But in the years since his extreme weight loss he has gained more than 100 pounds back.

When a person loses an extreme amount of weight it is normal for their metabolic rate to slow down because one who weighs less requires fewer calories to maintain the same weight than someone who weighs more. Makes sense, right?

Normally we would expect the body to adapt to the weight loss and the metabolism to adjust to the new weight. But that’s not what happened with most of the former contestants in the study.

The researchers found even after the contestants gained a significant amount of weight back, their metabolic rate continued to slow. It was lower than other people who weighed the same.

It was as though their bodies were doing everything possible to prevent them from losing more weight, or even maintain their new weight.

What Do We Know About Our Metabolism?

Our metabolism includes all the processes our body goes through to convert the food we eat (calories) to energy our bodies can use.

You may have heard that each of us has a magic weight, or a set point. This is the weight our body wants to stay at. It’s comfortable and easy for our body to stay at this weight, but it makes weight loss very difficult.

When we lose weight our BMR slows down. It reduces the amount of calories we burn when we’re at rest. (2) Some of the former Biggest Loser contestants had a BMR much lower than would be expected of someone who had the same body composition and weight.

This is also why we hear “yo-yo dieting” isn’t good. Each time we gain and lose (and gain and lose) weight it impacts out metabolic rate and body composition.

The Biggest Loser contestants lost an incredible amount of weight. Many of us gain and lose only ten or fifteen pounds at a time, but even so, it can change our BMR. And doing this repeatedly can make it more difficult to lose weight the next time.

Despite these findings, there is hope for anyone wanting to lose weight. In fact there are many things we can do to help increase our metabolism and lose weight.

What You Can Do To Speed Up Your Metabolism

1. Strength Train! extreme weight loss and metabolism

The more muscle you have the more calories you burn.

In addition to lifting weights or using resistance bands, there are so many body weight workouts you can do that will help build lean muscle mass. There are many free workouts available online.

I have a couple of fitness apps on my phone that I love. Most don’t require any equipment and are free. Currently I’m using:

  • Seven – This one is based on the 7-Minute Workout concept. It works all the major muscle groups and only takes 7 minutes to complete.
  • 30 Day Push Up Challenge – Push ups are great for building and toning muscles in the arms, (obviously) core and back.
  • 5 Minute Planks – Call me crazy, but I love planks! There, I said it. 😉 They’re great for building muscle tone in the abs and back.
  • SWORKIT – One of my favorites! This one allows you to choose between strength training, yoga, stretching, or cardio workouts. You can also specify how long you want the workout to last.

I tend to use one for a while, get bored with it, then try another one. (Just keepin’ it real) Do what works for you!

Please keep in mind that your body needs plenty of high-quality protein to build muscle. You might like to try My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake for a delicious and sustaining boost of energy.

2. Eat Whole Foods (And Stay Away From Processed Junk)

Consuming processed foods like prepackaged snack foods, artificial sweeteners (or artificial anything) can slow your metabolism and mess with your thyroid and hormones. The body treats them like toxins, so we need to limit them.

Focus on eating a diet rich in whole foods such as grass-fed beef, eggs, fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, (such as coconut oil) nuts and seeds. These foods have all the building blocks our bodies need to support a strong metabolism.

3. Get Plenty Of Sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep your metabolism slows down to save energy. (3)

Also, when we don’t get enough sleep our bodies aren’t able to regulate our blood sugar as effectively. This can lead to hunger pains and increased cravings for food.

Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night and keep your metabolic furnace burning.

If you liked this article, you might like to check out 17 Ways To Lose Weight Faster and 5 Health Benefits Of Whey Protein.


What do you think about “The Biggest Loser” Study? Please share your thoughts below.


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Lyme Disease Awareness

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May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. So, I wanted to compile a list of resources that would be helpful to anyone wanting to learn more about Lyme disease and protect their loved ones.

If you live anywhere in the United States (or many other countries throughout the world) this is essential reading.

Despite what you may have heard, you can get Lyme disease anywhere there are ticks because ticks have no borders.

People, pets and ticks all travel, so the disease is not confined to one particular area. It is prevalent throughout the world. It is crucial to know the facts so you can protect your loved ones from suffering the debilitating effects of Lyme.

Lyme Disease Resources

I’ve gathered a list of articles I’ve written about Lyme and additional resources to share information I believe is imperative to everyone. If I can help prevent even one person from going through this crazy Lyme thing I sincerely want to.

  • Read Warning: Lyme Disease Is Spreading Faster Than AIDS to learn why we should be more concerned about Lyme disease than ever before. Also, learn how to prevent getting Lyme.
  • Lyme Disease is known as the “Great Imitator” because the symptoms are the same as many other diseases and conditions. Find out The Signs, Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease.
  • You might want to check out Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real? Part 1 to learn about the controversy surrounding the chronic Lyme disease debate.
  • Find out about The Spoon Theory in Chronic Illness: What’s a Spoonie Anyway?  These articles can help you better understand what it’s like to have a chronic illness, such as chronic Lyme disease.
  • If you’d like to learn about my personal history with Lyme disease, please read Living With Lyme Disease, Part 1 and Living With Lyme Disease, Part 2.
  • In The Shocking Truth About Forgiveness And Your Health I share some of the obstacles I (and thousands of other “Lymies”) faced when I literally felt like I was dying but couldn’t find a diagnosis or treatment in the local medical community. It was an emotional roller coaster and made it so challenging for me and my loved ones to keep hope alive. Thankfully, I was eventually able to find several excellent doctors who recognized my symptoms. They accurately diagnosed me with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (based on positive diagnostic tests and a clinical diagnosis) and treated (and are continuing to treat) me.Lyme disease awareness
  • You can also read more about my experiences in Make the Journey Beautiful. Sometimes life deals us lemons and we have to decide what to do.
  • Another excellent Lyme disease resource is the ILADS website.
  • A powerful documentary film about Lyme disease is Under Our Skin. When I first heard about the film a couple of years ago it was available to view for free online. However, now it appears that it is only available for purchase. Either way, I would highly recommend it. And they now have a sequel, Under Our Skin, 2 Emergence and I’m hoping to watch it soon. (You might like to watch the trailer below.)

The Takeaway

Lyme disease is a very real and growing problem in the US and worldwide. I hope the resources above help to educate and bring awareness to Lyme symptoms and how the disease can be prevented.

Advances and discoveries are being made in the field of Lyme research. But we have a long way to go to provide better diagnostic testing and treatments.

There is hope for people who have Lyme disease, as well as loved ones who help care for them. We can and will get better and help others do the same!


Please share this post with everyone you know via the social media buttons to help spread awareness and help fight Lyme.

And please share your experiences, comments and questions in the comments below.


Check out the compelling movie trailer to Under Our Skin, 2 Emergence below.

 

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Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference In Your Health

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Small changes can make a big difference!

Persistence, even in little things (like nutrition and fitness) can have a big impact in your overall health.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Small Changes

  • Drink 8 or 9 glasses of water per day and not your usual 6 or 7.
  • Chew your food slowly instead of scarfing down your meal.
  • Power walk 30 minutes instead of your usual 15.
  • Work out while you watch TV instead of vegging out, munching on chips.
  • Wake up early in the morning and work out instead of waiting until after work when you’re tired and busy and less likely to follow through.
  • Park your car further away from your destination so you can take more steps on your way in to work (or the grocery story, movie theater, church, etc.).
  • Avoid self-defeating messages. Instead change your thoughts to reflect the positive goals you’re working to achieve. You might want to journal about your feelings and goals. Some people like to have a mantra that they repeat when the start being hard (unforgiving) on themselves. I like these:
    1. Stop beating yourself up.  You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.
    2. Ask yourself, “Who do I want to be?”
    3. The true measure of your success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.
    4. The story of your life has many chapters.  One bad chapter doesn’t mean it’s the end.  So stop re-reading the bad one already and turn the page.
    5. This too shall pass.
    6. You got this!
    7. With change comes opportunity.
    8. And one of my favorites, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” (from The Help) You might want to check out the video clip below.

What changes have you made? What have you noticed as a result of your efforts?


 

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