Is It Time For a Coffee Break?

Like a large portion of the people on this Earth, I cannot start my day without a cup (or two) of coffee. In fact, the team here at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. goes through at least two entire pots every morning! I doubt we will ever catch our Operations Manager, Troy Stover, without his “Three Stooges” mug in hand. The beverage makes up an interesting element of our office culture. For example, we share coffee at our morning meetings and while discussing projects. We also have coffee with our clients when they come here to meet with us. The drink is definitely a staple of our office environment.

From a nutritional standpoint, cream and sugar users aren’t reaping the full potential of the beverage. However, black coffee contains lots of antioxidants and is low in calories so, despite any myths you have heard, here are 5 reasons why coffee is good for your health:

It Protects Your Heart

People who drink 1 to 3 cups of coffee a day have lower rates of stroke than non-coffee drinkers. This is linked to the large amount of antioxidants in the beverage, which may help suppress the damaging effect of inflammation on arteries. Coffee’s antioxidants activate nitric oxide, widening blood vessels and lowering blood pressure in the long run. Since coffee contains more antioxidants than even blueberries, it can be considered the largest source of antioxidants in most diets.

It Diverts Diabetes

Chlorogenic acid and quinides (two specific antioxidants in coffee) boost your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar. While studies have shown that people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, there’s also the possibility of caffeine dulling the insulin-sensitivity boost in others, so heavy coffee drinkers should mix in some decaf.

Your Liver Loves It

While the research in this area is limited, it looks like the more coffee people drink, the lower their chance of getting cirrhosis and other liver diseases. One study showed that every 2-cup increase in daily coffee intake reduced liver cancer risk by 43%. Again, it’s those antioxidants—chlorogenic and caffeic acids—along with the caffeine that might prevent liver inflammation and inhibit cancer cells.

It Boosts Your Brain Power

Studies have shown that those who drink between 1 and 5 cups of coffee a day may help reduce the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Those hard-working antioxidants may ward off brain cell damage and help the neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function to work better.

It Helps Your Headaches

And not just the withdrawal headaches caused by skipping your daily dose of caffeine! Studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine—about the amount in 16 ounces of brewed coffee—provides relief from headaches, including migraines. Exactly how caffeine relieves headaches isn’t clear. But scientists do know that caffeine boosts the activity of brain cells, causing surrounding blood vessels to constrict. One theory is that this constriction helps to relieve the pressure that causes the pain, says Robert Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and director of the Headache Clinic at the University of Vermont Medical School.

SOURCE: Kerri-Ann Jennings, Eating Well Magazine

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