7 Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee drinkers REJOICE!!! Today, September 29th, is NATIONAL COFFEE DAY!!

In honor of National Coffee Day, let’s review some of the health benefits of sipping your favorite cup of Joe.

another cup of Joe, please!

7 Health Benefits of Coffee

  1. Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes– Solid data here suggests that those who drink more than six or seven cups daily were 35% less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drank fewer than two cups daily. There was a smaller perk — a 28% lower risk — for people who drank 4-6 cups a day. The findings held regardless of sex, weight, or geographic location. There is good news in that decaffeinated coffee is as effective as caffeinated coffee.
  2. Lower risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, and Arrhythmias – There is a relationship between type 2 diabetes and heart disease and strokes, thus by lowering the risk of diabetes, you lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Call it a medical two for one special! Studies have also shown that people who reported drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) than nondrinkers, regardless of other risk factors.
  3. Lower Risk of Parkinson’s Disease – Interestingly, the science is pointing to caffeine being the reason for a decrease risk of Parkinson’s, though science is unsure why.
  4. Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia– A Scandinavian study showed those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.
  5. Prevention of Liver Cancer – Studies are showing a strong association between regular coffee consumption and a reduced risk of liver cancer.
  6. Improves Your Mood – Caffeine is a well-known stimulant, giving you a boost in energy. The caffeine in coffee enters the blood stream and travels to the brain where it blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. Once blocked, the brain produces other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine, which in turn improves your mood, as well as other brain functions such as memory, alertness, and reaction times.
  7. Fight Depression – This is related to the point made above about coffee improving your mood. A Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed, and another study in 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to die by suicide.
Whoa! Be careful with that pour!

Down sides to coffee?

This article is not intended to encourage you to swim in a vat of coffee. There are known issues with the over consumption of caffeine, and they include anxiety, fatigue, addiction, high blood pressure, insomnia, and digestive issues.

For most people, it will be the ingredients they add to their coffee that will take away from the benefits listed above. An enormous amount of sugar and saturated fats is found in specialty coffee drinks. These drinks eliminate any benefit of coffee and lead to a higher risk of diabetes, weight gain, higher blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. These specialty coffee drinks should always be avoided.

Bottomline, if you enjoy drinking coffee, continue to do so as there are tremendous for doing so. But if you add large amounts of sugar or fats to your coffee, you are likely negating all those benefits and potentially causing more harm. Consider replacing your sugar with a non-sugar solution such as plant-based stevia.

Kudos to the folks at Healthline and WebMD for the information I was able to collect for this article.



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8 Foods To Help You Stay Mentally Strong

8 foods to boost your concentration - with title

So many folks have told me that since the beginning of the pandemic, they have found it difficult to concentrate. Too many distractions, too many changes, and in general.. too much noise! This post won’t begin to solve all the problems that lead to the distractions, BUT I will tackle what you can do to give your brain the boost it needs so that it can stay strong during this trying time, and into the future.

  1. Caffeine – Yep, that morning or afternoon jolt can give you the energy and concentration you need, BUT, the effects are short term AND too much caffeine will actually ruin your concentration as you will be too jittery and jumpy.
  2. Sugar– Sugar can help you with your short-term memory boost, BUT it comes with a few big caveats. 1. The sugar you body wants is glucose, the type you get from carbohydrates, NOT sucrose, the type of sugar derived from table sugar. 2. Too much sugar, will make you groggy, the opposite of what you want. The Solution; a small glass of juice.
  3. Breakfast – For students in particular, a breakfast of high fiber, dairy, and fruit, has shown to improve memory and alertness. Too big a breakfast, you lose your concentration.
  4. Fish – Yep, fish is brain food. A diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids has shown to reduce the risk of dementia, lower stroke risks, and slow the progress of mental decline. Some doctors recommend 2 serving of fish a week, mine recommends 5 per week. Hint, a can of tuna counts as a serving and is a fantastic addition to a green salad.
  5. Nuts and Dark Chocolate – Nuts and dark chocolate contain high levels of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant in the effort to prevent cognitive decline. A handful of nuts a day can make all the difference. Choose almonds, walnuts, and pecans as they contain the most benefits. Skip the peanuts and cashews as they can cause inflammation. All you need is 1 oz of dark chocolate a day. 1 oz is about the size of the end of your thumb
  6. Avocado – These little green wonders are loaded with Vitamin E, and as I noted above, Vitamin E is a powerful ally in the fight to keep your brain strong. And while you may read cautions about the fat content of avocado, I wouldn’t be concerned, the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated and is the type your body wants for healthy blood flow.
  7. Blueberries – Think of them as little blue shields, protecting your brain from free radicals that want to attack your brain cells and leading to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  8. Water – Staying hydrated during the day helps keep your working in the way it is supposed to, i.e. consuming food, creating energy, eliminating waste. Without enough water, your body directs energy to other places besides your brain, leaving you in a fog. So, drink your water regularly. The amount needed varies per person, but 8 glasses a day is not a bad rule of thumb.

You can find more details about these food sources at WebMD

These are easy foods to incorporate into just about any diet. So, when you are taking care of your body, don’t forget to also take care of your brain!

Hi, I’m Chris Stiehl, a.k.a. The Wide-Body. This blog is dedicated to the “everyday athlete”, and that person is you! I sincerely believe an athlete resides in every one of us and I want to inspire you to discover that athlete within you. You are also built with a specific body type, and each type has its own power, so embrace that power and ignore the noise that says your body shape is unworthy. That power is your gift, and thus each week, I will post articles featuring topics about Health, Fitness, and Food so that you can incorporate these ideas into life and enjoy the gift you have been given.

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Keywords: mental health, concentration, Alzheimer’s, dementia, caffeine, glucose, breakfast, fish, brain, nuts, avocado, blueberries, water, hydrate, webmd, tuna, salmon, vitamin e, ADHD