Is Coffee More than Just a Pick-Me-Up?

Coffee is one of civilization's favorite beverages. It's history dates back all the way to the tenth century, although the earliest written records about the coffee tree can be traced back to 15th-century Sufi monasteries in Yemen.  

Just the sound of the name makes you imagine its aromatic scent and delicious flavor. You probably also think of the many times it's helped you feel more awake in the early mornings or alleviated your fatigue after a hard day at the office or made you more focused when you had to complete some demanding mental task.

While you probably think of your daily coffee as just a great tasting pick-me-up, coffee also offers some beneficial health effects that you may not have heard about before.

Here are some tips and tricks to make your daily cup of coffee taste better and some scientific reasons that suggest that it's good for your health, too.

How to Brew a Tastier Cup of Coffee in the Morning

While you can always improve the taste of your coffee by learning how to select the best gourmet coffee and investing in an expensive brewing machine, there are also some other inexpensive hacks to transform your daily cup of coffee into a delicious drink that you can make when you're in a hurry.  You can get a few ideas from on how to upgrade your coffee quickly, easily, and inexpensively before you head out of the door on your way to work.

4 Ways Coffee Can Improve Your Health

  • Drinking coffee may protect against type 2 diabetes. When someone has diabetes, their body has become insulin resistant and they may also have unregulated levels of blood sugar. Researchers have found that two substances in coffee, cafestol and caffeic acid, can be helpful for diabetics. Cafestol makes it easier for the cells to increase their blood sugar intake. Additionally, both cafestol and caffeic acid proved helpful in increasing the secretion of insulin.  
  • Drinking coffee may safeguard against Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease slows down motor function, muscular rigidity, postural reflexes, among other primary symptoms. Coffee has been shown in studies to lower the risk of developing this disease because of its caffeine levels.
  • Drinking coffee may reduce your risk of liver cancer. A study suggests that coffee could play a role in preventing liver cancer. Researchers compared two groups of coffee drinkers—those who drank two cups a day and those who abstained from coffee altogether. They found that coffee drinkers reduced their risk of hepatocellular cancer by 35 percent compared to non-coffee drinkers.
  • Drinking coffee may promote a healthy heart. There is some scientific evidence that coffee may justifiably be classified as heart healthy. One of the primary cause of heart diseases are clogged arteries and those who drink coffee have less buildup of calcium deposits in their arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart.

These are not the only benefits. There are many more. Coffee has also been associated with reducing the risk of dementia, makes you smarter when taking an examination, empowers you to perform better on the playing field, and even helps you burn fat as you workout.

How Much Coffee is Enough?

At this point, it's understandable if you jump to the conclusion that drinking coffee is even better for you than juicing organic carrots or blending spinach or downing a protein shake after an intense run or gym workout. However, the FDA only recommends 400 mg a day of caffeine intake from all sources. This comes to a maximum of four cups.

What happens if you pass this limit? A lot of things, and none of them good. If you're averaging about 500 to 600 mg a day, you are overstimulating your nervous system, which will result in tremors, restlessness, and irritability. If you drink within this dangerous range closer to bedtime, you are liable to experience insomnia. Besides affecting your central nervous system more than is good for you, coffee can also cause all sorts of gastrointestinal distress ranging from acid reflux to bloating and stomach upsets.

Take a Balanced View

For centuries, people have loved the taste and the instant energy boost that coffee gives them. However, since many dietitians and nutritionists have consistently warned against the harmful effects of coffee, many coffee drinkers feel some guilt over drinking coffee, equating it to a guilty pleasure, indulgence comparable to eating too many greasy fries or a tub of ice cream. However, this is an incorrect approach. Coffee taken in moderation can be good for you. By staying within the 400 mg range and abstaining from other beverages high in caffeine, you will be able to reap the benefits of coffee without having to deal with its negative aspects.