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Lesser Known Benefits of Coffee

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Many of us consume coffee in one form or another on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Of its multiple virtues, coffee is often desired for its aroma, flavor, and energy-boosting properties.

Beyond that, we’ve known that coffee reduces the risks of cancer and type 2 diabetes. It also makes you smarter, temporarily at least, by blocking the neurotransmitters that make you sleepy and thus, functioning at a lower cognitive level. Indeed, some may believe the benefits of coffee to be bottomless. But until we decipher them all, here are a few of coffee’s lesser known affects on the human mind and body.

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Mental Health

According to a recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the AARP, coffee has been found to alleviate depression. The study found rates of depression to be reduced up to 10% in those that guzzled around four cups of coffee a day. Furthermore, adults who drink 2-4 cups of coffee daily have reduced suicide rates of up to 50%. Though this trend tends to reverse itself should you exceed four cups. You may first be inclined to attribute this to the caffeine rather than the coffee itself. If so, you should now fight off such inclinations, for the affects appear to be unique to coffee, or at least non-inclusive to other caffeinated beverages such as cola.

However, this could also be due to the sugar content in cola, and until they’ve tested the affects of sugar-free cola it can’t be certain. Nonetheless, the improvement in mood may be attributed to the antioxidants in coffee. Though to some such affects may be considered similar to those resulting from the antioxidants in tea.

Aside from mood altercations are coffee’s affects on overall mental performance. Coffee, if drunken over a long span of time, can improve long-term memory. There is a bit of a trade off, however, as it also impairs the short-term memory to a minor degree. To a larger extent, coffee can fight off the risks associated with the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.  Multiple studies have shown coffee drinkers, on average, have a 60% lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s and are 32-60% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. It has also been shown to reduce overall levels of dementia.

Physical Health

Setting aside the faulted accusations of green coffee* as a weight-loss miracle, caffeine does provide a short-term acceleration of the metabolism. But be sure to stay hydrated. While black coffee can hydrate you with sheer water content, high caffeine levels tend to dehydrate. Too much dehydration can actually decrease your metabolism. So, as with everything, it is all comes down to a proper balance. That said, coffee, along with improved diet and activity, proves effective at suppressing the appetite and increasing the amount of calories one burns.

In addition to providing drinkers with hits of energy, coffee can enhance your overall performance in just about anything you do. Olympians themselves have been found to have large traces of caffeine diluting their urine. This may be due to the fact that drinking coffee enables you to bike and run longer. For optimal performance it is suggested you consume 6 milligrams of coffee per 22 pounds of body weight. So, while offices are generally never lacking coffee supply, employers who make coffee more accessible to workers may notice and  increase in employee work efficiency, though likely those who benefit from this are already seasoned coffee drinkers, making a before-and-after depiction difficult to conceive of.

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*Claims have been made that with green coffee, which is coffee made from raw, non-roasted beans, one can lose weight without the need to “diet or exercise”.

Obviously, it is wise to take such statements lightly. While some studies find green coffee bean extracts to aid in weight reduction, their effects are minor and the research has thus far been poor.

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