With an estimated 2.25 billion (yes, that right, I said BILLION) cups of coffee consumed worldwide on the daily, chances are this smooth and bitter beverage isn’t foreign to most of us. In fact, it’s likely your motivation to get going in the morning. While the way it’s consumed varies by region, just the mere fact that it’s so widely (and heavily) consumed has had researchers and clinicians interested in the long-term effects of coffee addiction.
Improve Your Athletic Performance One Cup at a Time
Coffee is a functional food, and not in the “I need coffee to function” sort of way. Rather, coffee promotes optimal health and potentially reduces the risk of disease, says the Mayo Clinic. And according to PLoS One Journal, studies have shown that dosing up on caffeine up to an hour pre-workout can actually improve your athletic performance and endurance. Maybe that early morning activity isn’t looking so bad now!
What remains in debate is the mechanism of action, says Robert E.C. Wildman in the Handbook for Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods. That is to say, it’s the caffeine content in coffee that’s to credit for its ergogenic (enhancing physical performance) effect. It may have the exact same effect as straight caffeine or other energy snacks containing caffeine, but it will shown up as a PR regardless.
Of course, while there may be no legal limit for coffee consumption, pump the brakes on taking advantage of bottomless cups of coffee. The recommendation from the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal is 3-4 cups of coffee, providing 300-400mg per day of caffeine. This amount has shown little evidence of health risks and maybe even some health benefits, like:
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease
- Increased alertness
- Weight management by increasing energy expenditure and inducing lipolysis (the breakdown of fats and other lipids)
- Increased longevity (a.k.a. living longer!)
Modern Coffee World
While the love for coffee hasn’t faulted over many centuries, who, how, and what consumers are drinking coffee has evolved significantly. According to the National Coffee Association USA, these are some common trends in the coffee industry:
1. It’s all about the experience…
The main consumer of coffee has shifted as millennial populations exceed baby boomers in size and become the largest consumers of coffee—but in a different way than their parents or grandparents. Rather than relying solely on the price of their coffee like their wise elders, millennials value the experience of drinking coffee.
2. …An on-the-go experience.
Our on-the-go lifestyles have led us to seek coffee options that are portable and convenient. No more standing around the coffee machine waiting for it to brew—consumers want ready-to-drink options! And the industry has provided.
3. We want it fancy.
Out with the old drip coffee, in with new and modern ways of brewing. Our preferences for coffee-rich beverages are ever-changing. Remember when we talked about millennials focusing on the experience? Well, the experience has led millennials to drinking more premium, specialty coffee. We’re talking cold press, nitro brewed, and even bulletproof!
The Last Word
While the debate rages on and more studies will likely follow, we can safely say that coffee can be a regular part of your healthy diet—as long as you don’t get caught up in the high-sugar options. You can always embrace the beverage and shifting seasonal options in a healthier way.