A cup of coffee surrounded by healthy products

The surprising health benefits of coffee

Many Canadians welcome the start of their morning with the scent of a freshly brewing pot of coffee. For some of us, the day doesn’t start until we’ve our first cup. Regardless of whether you make it at home or pick one up at a coffee shop, it is a morning staple for millions of us across the country.

Canadian coffee drinking stats

Just how much of an impact does coffee have on a typical Canadian’s day? A 2010 Canadian coffee drinking study by the Coffee Association of Canada found that we love our coffee. Specifically, here is what the study found:

  • About two-thirds of Canadian respondents had a coffee in the past day
  • Canadians drink about 2.8 cups of coffee per day
  • More than 50% of Canadians drink their coffee in the morning
  • People between 35 and 64 years of age consume more coffee, on average, than other age categories

Health benefits of drinking coffee

There is a variety of reasons why people love coffee. We love the flavour and we love the energy boost it provides, but we should also love it for its health benefits. In fact, drinking coffee offers more health benefits than most people realize. Here are the general health benefits of drinking coffee:

  1. It gives you energy: The caffeine in coffee provides an added boost of energy and helps people feel less tired – one of the main reasons why we drink coffee in the morning.
  2. It improves brain function: According to Authority Nutrition, a number of studies have shown that coffee can help improve brain function. It is known to have a positive effect on memory, mood, reaction time and cognitive function.
  3. It’s low in calories: One cup of black coffee has only 1 calorie, making it an ideal beverage option.
  4. It’s rich in antioxidants: Coffee is one the primary sources of antioxidants. In fact, it is now the number one source of antioxidants in our diet, helping to eliminate the free radicals in our bodies.
  5. It can burn fat and improve physical performance: Coffee is known to boost metabolic rate, which can help to burn fat and increase adrenaline levels, and both of these effects can help enhance physical performance.
  6. Coffee can help prevent depression: A 2011 Harvard study found that women who drank 4 cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to become depressed.
  7. Coffee may help you live longer: A study found that coffee consumption is associated with a 26% lower risk of death in women and a 20% lower risk of death in men.

The role of coffee in disease prevention

As outlined in Coffee and Your Health, multiple studies have found that coffee has the ability to help protect against and prevent many common diseases. It is known to help protect against stroke, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes, and it has anti-cancer properties.

“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

These studies need to be taken with caution. Coffee has not been proven to prevent these conditions, but it can help serve as a preventative measure.

Drinking coffee the healthy way

As they say, you can have too much of a good thing, and coffee, like other foods and beverages, is best consumed in moderation. The two main issues with coffee drinkers today are that they drink too much coffee, and they fill their cups with fatty and sugary additives.

All of the benefits mentioned above are based on drinking coffee black. However, most of us are guilty of adding things that ramp up the calories in our coffee.

You can easily turn your low-calorie coffee into an empty-calorie, sugar-filled drink. A teaspoon of sugar is approximately 15 calories. A serving of half-and-half cream or creamer is about 50 calories, making that double-double amount to about 150 calories or more.

What you put in your coffee matters. The good news is there are a number of healthy and tasty alternatives to ensure your coffee is healthy, including:

  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Stevia
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon

Drinking coffee offers multiple benefits for Canadians, giving us another reason to love our morning coffee. Do you drink coffee? How do you take it?

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