With an estimated 2.25 billion (yes, that right, I said BILLION) cups of coffee consumed worldwide each day, chances are this beverage isn’t foreign to most of us. In fact, it’s probably your motivation to get going in the morning (I know it’s mine!). While the way it’s consumed varies by region, just the mere fact that it’s so widely (and heavily) consumed has had researchers and clinicians interested in the long-term effects of coffee addiction.
Improve Your Athletic Performance One Cup at a Time
Coffee is a functional food, and not in the “I need coffee to function” sort of way. Rather, coffee promotes optimal health and potentially reduces the risk of disease, says the Mayo Clinic. And according to PLoS One Journal, studies have shown that ingesting caffeine up to an hour pre-workout can actually improve your athletic performance and endurance.
What remains in debate is the mechanism of action, says Robert E.C. Wildman in the Handbook for Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods. That is to say, it’s the caffeine content in coffee that’s to credit for its ability to enhance physical performance. It may have the exact same effect as straight caffeine or other energy snacks containing caffeine, but it will shown up as a PR regardless.
Of course, while there may be no legal limit for coffee consumption, pump the brakes on taking advantage of bottomless cups of coffee. The recommendation from the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal is 3-4 cups of coffee, providing 300-400mg per day of caffeine. This amount has shown little evidence of health risks and maybe even some health benefits, like:
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease
- Increased alertness
- Weight management by increasing energy expenditure and inducing lipolysis (the breakdown of fats and other lipids)
- Increased longevity (a.k.a. living longer!)
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While the debate continues, we can safely say that coffee can be a regular part of your healthy diet—as long as you don’t get caught up in the high-sugar options. You can always embrace the beverage and shifting seasonal options in a healthier way (yes, I’m talking to YOU, Pumpkin Spice Latte).