That first coffee in the morning is more than just a treat – it’s become a deeply ingrained ritual and many of us can’t imagine how we’d start the day without it.
From soy lattes to long blacks, coffee expenditure in the average Australian household has increased from sixty cents per week in the mid-seventies to $5.77 per week between 2009-10. While the price of coffee has increased during this time there’s no doubting that Australian’s love affair with coffee is more than just a fling.
We’ve listed seven reasons below that will help you keep your coffee dream alive – and they’ll be easy to remember, because coffee’s good like that.
COFFEE IS FULL OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Coffee is the largest source of antioxidants in the Western diet surpassing fresh fruit and vegetables. You’d need to eat large amounts of berries to gain the number of antioxidants consumed from a couple of cups of coffee.
Antioxidants are kind little molecules. They donate electrons to free radicals. Free radicals are constantly attacking our bodies with unpaired electrons that can mess with cell structures like proteins and DNA. Distributing electrons to free radicals is the same as giving them a ‘chill pill’ and may result in improved overall health.
COFFEE HELPS WITH YOUR MEMORY
Coffee is a well-known stimulant. You know that buzz you get when you take your first sip… or even just smell coffee? Well, that’s the active ingredient caffeine. Apart from the obvious uplifting effects of caffeine some studies show it helps improve the brains capacity for memory.
A group of participants took place in a study in which they were required to remember images shown on a screen. Some were administered with a strong caffeine tablet and the others given a placebo. The research showed that those given the caffeine tablet were better able to remember the images better than those who had been given the placebo.
COFFEE CAN HELP WITH DEPRESSION
Have you ever had a coffee and felt your mood brighten? A study conducted on more than 50,000 older women over ten years discovered that those who drank little to no coffee had a 15% higher chance of depression than those who drank coffee every second day or more. Why is that?
Well, coffee helps the brain release dopamine, which sends signals to other nerve cells. But not just any boring, old signals… dopamine is reward-related and is responsible for the sensations of feeling in love, happy and motivated.
COFFEE CAN HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
While coffee isn’t a magic elixir that will keep you youthful, it does have long reaching effects on health, which can help you live longer. Because coffee is shown to reduce cardiovascular and neurological diseases as well as decrease the risk of suicide, studies have shown that for those reasons it does lower the risk of mortality amongst coffee drinkers.
COFFEE MAY DECREASE THE RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
Energy is created in our bodies thanks to insulin. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – the most common form of diabetes.
Some researchers believe that Type 2 diabetes is caused by an accumulation of a protein called HIAPP, which in turn can lead to the death of cells in the pancreas. Three compounds found in a regular cup of coffee helped stop this toxic accumulation, protecting the pancreas and decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
COFFEE MAY LOWER THE RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there is some speculation as to what causes the disease. The build up of amyloid beta is suspected to cause Alzheimer’s – a protein in the brain – and is most consistently found increased in Alzheimer’s patients.
Your friend coffee can reduce the levels of beta amyloid and studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely than their non-coffee drinking counterparts to develop Alzheimer’s.
YOUR LIVER LOVES COFFEE
We’ve probably saved the best for last – drinking more coffee may help reduce damage caused by imbibing too much food and alcohol.
With over 430,000 study participants and data from previous studies, researchers found that those drinking two or more cups of coffee a day had a 44% lower chance of developing liver cirrhosis, amongst those surveyed. It all comes back to the high level of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee. But, be warned… adding sugars, syrups or whiskey to coffee is not recommended as they could potentially cause stress on the liver.