Morning time. I will gladly join any length of queue for a caffè all’americana to kick start the day. Chances are you’re the same. But, what doesn’t come to mind in the a.m. is the affect coffee drinking has on your body, mind and waistline.
It turns out there is more to drinking coffee than meets the eye. It has a secret – 7 secrets in fact! Read on to learn how to improve your long term memory and unlock the fat burning potential of your body – while you’re up all night with the jitters!
1. Coffee can prevent you from getting your beauty sleep
Coffee picks you up. But excess caffeine makes it harder to sleep. It can also be hard on your stomach. The effects of coffee last 3 to 6 hours. However if you have more than a couple in a day, even if you finish drinking by 2 or 3 pm, you can still have difficulty nodding off that night. So try to keep it to the equivalent of a couple of Costa or Starbucks coffees a day – that’s still 4 to 6 shots of espresso!
2. Coffee helps you relax, surprisingly
While caffeine blocks alpha waves (stick with us on this one!), indirectly, the coffee you drink while taking a break relaxes your body and mind. As the smell of coffee reaches your nose, you experience an increase in alpha wave activity in your brain, which relaxes your body and lowers your stress levels. I’m hoping someone can plug me in to test this theory!
3. Coffee helps you burn fat
Coffee is a stimulant. By combining coffee and exercise you will be able to workout longer. It’s as simple as that. Drink coffee 20-30 minutes before exercise. Not too much, about a cup is fine. But note – only by increasing your activity, by utilising the stimulant and exercising more, or faster, or longer, does coffee help to burn off fat.
4. Coffee helps you eat a little less
For those less inclined to exercise after drinking a cup of coffee, it’s also known to be an appetite suppressant. Whew!
5. Chromogenic Acid for Weight Loss and Anti-aging (Wha’?!)
Coffee contains a polyphenol called chromogenic acid (about 5% of the total coffee bean) that is connected to the color, scent, and taste you get out of coffee. Polyphenols are believe to help fight cancer, unclog arteries, and produce an anti-aging effect with antioxidants to promote healthy fat burning in your liver.
However, this only works if chromogenic acid is protected. In fact, most of the polyphenols in coffee are lost during the roasting process. The more heat applied, the less chromogenic acid. When choosing which types of coffee to buy, go with the lightly roasted variety. There’s more chance of some chromogenic acid remaining. Chocolate coated coffee bean, anyone?!
6. Coffee can be both the cause of, and solution, to headaches
Coffee is a vasoconstrictor. Vasoconstriction is the shrinking of the blood vessels. This can reduce the swelling in your brain that causes a headache. However – because caffeine is addictive, abstaining from your usual coffee can result in withdrawal symptoms, once of which is – you guessed it – headaches!
7. Coffee is very low in calories
A cup of black coffee contains around 4 to 12 calories and so it is considered a calorie free drink. Certainly if you are on a fasting diet such as the 5:2 or Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat, then black coffee is permitted and encouraged during the fasting period. I have certainly found it helps.
200 milligrams of caffeine improves your memory
200mg of caffeine, the equivalent of 2 espressos or approximately what you get in a ‘small’ sized Costa coffee can improve your long term memory according to New Scientist, so it has to be true! Specifically it enhances memory consolidation – the process of strengthening memories between acquiring them and retrieving them as long as it’s taken in the run up to the memory being created, rather then recalled.