What’s one thing that can help improve mental performance, athletic performance, and memory? 

No, it’s not some new super-supplement or secret weapon — it’s good, ol’ coffee, the beloved drink of many. Michael Pollan said, in his audiobook about caffeine, that “if you have a cup of coffee after you’ve learned something or read a textbook chapter, you are more likely to test better on it the next day.” We are supportive of cutting a lot of things out (or down) of your diet, but we’re skeptical about cutting out coffee. We explore the benefits of drinking coffee, as well as some of the considerations for cutting back.

The benefits of drinking coffee + some fun facts

  • As far back as 1968, there had been an association between coffee and slowing or preventing Parkinson’s disease, thought to be due to the caffeine content. Further research has shown that there is a substance in coffee besides caffeine called EHP.
  • Coffee is more than just a caffeine delivery system. It has more than one thousand compounds: organic acids, sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, and polyphenols.
  • You still get many of the benefits of coffee by drinking decaf.
  • Different regions of coffee have different polyphenol content, and Ethiopian coffee was found to have the highest level.
  • Cold brew has fewer antioxidants than hot brew.
  • Putting lion’s mane in your coffee is an excellent way to get even more benefit out of a daily cup
  • In a controlled study, participants who drank two cups of coffee a day compared to those who drank only water had less DNA damage by the end of the study.

The drawbacks (or when to avoid coffee)

  • You get more sensitive to caffeine as you get older, so keep that in mind
  • Your body will generally retain 1/4th of the caffeine you take in at noon by midnight
  • Caffeine can affect the quality of your sleep dramatically, so keep your timing in mind
  • Coffee can affect the absorption of thyroid hormones
  • Coffee can exacerbate your anxiety levels

Coffee is something that we often think of as a vice or a guilty pleasure, but take this as our permission to enjoy coffee without the guilt! There’s no need to skip your morning cup.

 

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