4 surprising health benefits of drinking more than one cup of coffee every day

The jury has been going back and forth for years on whether or not coffee is actually good for you, but a new study may have just provided the excuse you’re looking for to treat yourself to a venti flat white today (thanks, science).

Research by the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh, published in the British Medical Journal today, found that drinking three or four cups of the delicious brown stuff every day could lower your chance of death by 17%.

The large review of more than 200 previous investigations into coffee concluded that it is “more likely to benefit health than harm it”, after finding a lower risk of liver disease and some cancers in coffee drinkers.

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If that wasn’t excuse enough to leg it to the nearest Starbucks, previous studies have found that there are a whole list of surprising health benefits to (moderate) coffee drinking – from helping you to smash a gym session to keeping your brain healthy.

So if you can’t form whole sentences without first downing a big old dose in the morning – and let’s face it, who can really – fill up your cup and toast to the roast with these reasons why coffee is good for you.

1. It can help with your marathon training

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Ever noticed you run for the train that little bit faster when you’ve swigged an Americano with your breakfast? That’s probably because coffee can actually improve athletic performance. It does this by using several mechanisms, including mobilising fatty acids from your body’s fat tissues.

Coffee also stimulates the adrenaline levels in the blood – the ‘fight or flight’ hormone designed to make our bodies alert and ready for physical exertion. Scientists have even estimated that it can even improve your physical performance by as much as 11-12%.

2. It can soothe a hangover

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There’s nothing worse than waking up the morning after a few too many drinks the night before and having a whole day of work to battle through. Next time you feel like silently weeping into your keyboard, try switching on the office coffee machine instead.

Researchers at the Seoul National University found that just sniffing a fresh cuppa can help relax the brain and put you in a less anxious state. The study examined the brains of rats who were stressed with sleep deprivation, and found that those who were exposed to coffee aromas experienced changes in brain proteins tied to stress. Hurrah.

3. Coffee can make you happier

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There aren’t just physical benefits to being a java junkie – it may help to brighten your mood too. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that those who drink four or more cups of coffee were 10 %  less likely to be depressed than those who had never touched the stuff. Why? Apparently it’s all down to caffeine, which binds to neurotransmitter receptors associated with your mood.

4. It could help to improve brain function

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Can’t concentrate on a big work task without first having an espresso? You may actually be doing your brain a favour in the long run.

Researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami found that people older than 65 who had higher blood-levels of caffeine developed Alzheimer’s disease two to four years later than others with lower levels.

Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the USF, said, “We are not saying that moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from Alzheimer’s disease. However, we firmly believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s or delay its onset.”

 

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