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Nov 11, 2013

Ever wonder what the best time is to drink your coffee? You probably know it is not a good idea to drink part of your daily dose of caffeine in the afternoon. Especially for those who have problems sleeping. But, do you ever drink your coffee and feel like it just didn’t work?

According to a new report, caffeine effectiveness is determined by the hour at which the coffee is consumed because of the body’s cortisol cycle (cortysol is a hormone which helps to regulate the body’s own internal clock and promotes alertness). Cortisol levels are naturally high shortly after waking up and can remain high for up to an hour afterwards – with the average peak being between 8am and 9am.

 Steven Miller, a neuroscientist at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, argues it is better to then drink caffeine after this peak as it promotes cortisol production. He said that drinking coffee while levels of this hormone are high can cause people to develop a tolerance of the caffeine it contains, meaning they often need an extra shot in their morning cup to get the same effect.

“One of the key principles of pharmacology is use a drug when it is needed. Otherwise, we can develop tolerance to a drug administered at the same dose (..). In other words, the same cup of morning coffee will become less effective and this is probably why I need a shot of espresso in mine now.” Mr Miller precised: “Although your cortisol levels peak between 8 and 9am, there are a few other times where blood levels peak again – between noon to 1pm, and 5.30 to 6.30pm. “In the morning then, your coffee will probably be the most effective if you enjoy it between 9.30am and 11.30am, when your cortisol levels are dropping before the next spike.” However, the exact time of when to drink that morning cup of coffee will vary from person to person depending on their cortisol cycle and the time when they normally get up in the morning.

If you are an early bird you may find your ideal time is earlier...

Coffee can not only increase alertness, but also benefit your health.

No wonder that, according to the National Coffee Association's 2013 online survey, 83% of adults in the U.S. drink coffee, averaging three cups of day per person.

Coffee is rich in antioxidants

According to a study done in 2005, "nothing else comes close" to providing as many antioxidants as coffee. While fruits and vegetables also have tons of antioxidants, the human body seems to absorb the most from coffee.

Caffeine has several beneficial effects

As noted in the journal Nutrition caffeine:

1) increases energy availability, 2) increases daily energy expenditure, 3) decreases fatigue, 4) decreases the sense of effort associated with physical activity, 5) enhances physical performance, 6) enhances motor performance, 7) enhances cognitive performance, 8) increases alertness, wakefulness, and feelings of 'energy,' 9) decreases mental fatigue, 10) quickens reactions, 11) increases the accuracy of reactions, 12) increases the ability to concentrate and focus attention, 13) enhances short-term memory, 14) increases the ability to solve problems requiring reasoning, 15) increases the ability to make correct decisions, 16) enhances cognitive functioning capabilities and neuromuscular coordination, and 17) in otherwise healthy non-pregnant adults is safe.

Coffee can help lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

A 2012 studyfound that a compound in coffee actually helped to block a substance in the body that may play a role in the development of diabetes. The study's researchers found that people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day reduce their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by 50%. Subsequently, with every additional cup, the risk gets lowered by 7 percent. Further studies have demonstratedthat caffeinated coffee consumption is linked to decreased diabetes risk as well.

Coffee may help to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer

A cohort of nearly half a million Americansshowed that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee per day, compared to drinking no coffee, reduced the risk of colorectal cancers. There was some evidence that decaffeinated coffee is also beneficial suggesting that the benefit lies in the coffe bean itself and not due to caffeine.

Coffee reduces the risk of stroke

A 13-year look at over 80,000 subjects in Japan recently revealed that drinking coffee once a week was associated with a 20% decreased risk in stroke compared to seldom coffee drinkers.

Another research shows that two cups of coffee a day may keep heart failure away (this study did not separate out regular from decaf coffee drinkers).

Coffee reduces incidence of depression

A large study of 50,000 older female health workers in Boston showed a reduced incidence of depression in those who drank 2-3 cups of caffeinated coffee (15%) compared to those who drank one or less cup of coffee, and an even greater decreased risk of depression (20%) in those who drank four or more cups. That may sound like a lot of coffee, but considering a cup of coffee is 8 ounces, at 16 ounces a single Starbucks medium (or "Grande") gets half the job done.

Coffee is great for your skin

A study showed a 17 percent reduction in Basal Cell Carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer) in those who drank 3 cups of caffeinated coffee a day compared to those who drank less than 1 cup of coffee per month. Decaffeinated coffee did not achieve the same results. Other sources of caffeine, including chocolate, tea, and soda did show a protective effect, indicating that it is likely the caffeine and not the coffee bean itself behind this health benefit.

Coffee can improve liver health

As the obesity epidemic continues, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is on the rise, afflicting about 25 % of the population. Coffee consumption is now credited with reducing the progression of fibrosis in NAFLD patients. Evidence suggests that coffee is also associated with curtailed progression of liver disease in people with liver fibrosis and Hepatitis C. But take note, brew through a filter to help your liver. Filtering coffee removes cafestrol, a chemical that affects the liver by increasing LDL (the "bad" cholesterol).

Another study (published in 2006) that included 125,000 people over 22 years showed that those who drink at least one cup of coffee a day were 20 percent less to develop liver cirrhosis -- an autoimmune disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption that could lead to liver failure and cancer.

Coffee aroma prevents stress from sleep deprivation

An international group of scientists reports that inhaling the rich, warm aroma of a hot cup of joe may alter the activity of some genes in the brain, reducing the effects of sleep deprivation — no drinking required. The test was done with laboratory rats, some of whom were stressed by being deprived of sleep. The researchers did detailed genetic studies that showed the activity of 11 genes was increased and the activity of two genes was decreased in the rats that smelled the coffee, compared to those who did not. In effect, the aroma of the coffee beans helped ease the stress of the sleep-deprived rodents. The experiment provides "for the first time, clues to the potential antioxidant or stress-relaxation activities of the coffee bean aroma," the researchers wrote. And they added, "These results indirectly explain why so many people use coffee for staying up all night, although the volatile compounds of coffee beans are not fully consistent with those of the coffee extracts. In other words, the stress caused by sleep loss via caffeine may be alleviated through smelling the coffee aroma."

Coffee has positive effects on muscles

Scientists and many athletes have known for years that a cup of coffee before a workout jolts athletic performance, especially in endurance sports like distance running and cycling. Caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream, which allows athletes' muscles to absorb and burn those fats for fuel, therefore saving the body's small reserves of carbohydrates for later on in the exercise.

A study in the journal Cell Metabolism found that caffeine actually strengthen muscles. The study looked specifically at DNA changes of muscles in sedentary individuals and found that positive effects from coffee were similar to effects derived from exercise. The most interesting factor in the study was the fact that these positive changes were seen rather quickly.

Coffee could lessen the symptoms of Parkinson's disease

Drinking caffeine each day may have a benefit in controlling movement, according to recent research published in 2012, online issue of Neurology. Studies have shown that people who use caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, but this is one of the first studies in humans to show that caffeine can help with movement symptoms for people who already have the disease,” said study author Ronald Postuma, MD, MSc.

Coffee consumption has been linked to lower levels of suicide 

A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health determined that drinking between two and four cups of coffee can reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50%. The proposed reason is because coffee acts as a mild antidepressant by aiding in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.

Coffee helps protect your brain

Coffee drinkers are more likely to resist development of dementia and Alzheimer's later in life according to a 2009 study. Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the USF, and co-author of the study, said, "We are not saying that moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from Alzheimer's disease. However, we firmly believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of Alzheimer's or delay its onset."

Be careful not to add extra calories!!!

What about decaf?

Although many of the benefits of coffee stem from the caffeine therein, caffeic acid (a non-caffeinated, and despite its name, unrelated compound) is part of the cancer fighting phenol group. Caffeic acid has been shown to demonstrate anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties.


Drinking coffee in moderation is safe, but don't be fooled by sweetened beverages with coffee flavor. It's the coffee bean, not the cream and sugar, that may be good for you! Again, if coffee plagues you with side-effects, you should not start or continue drinking it for the purported health benefits.



Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Monday November 11, 2013, 10:23 am
Tags: coffee of benefits [add/edit tags]

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Cristiana Crestani
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