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Coffee is a bit of a national obsession in Australia. Our coffee culture developed after the post-war European immigration boom, when cafés owned by Italian and Greek migrants started appearing. Now, around three quarters of us will have at least one cup a day, collectively spending around 3 billion dollars a year on coffee. 

So, what are some of the benefits of consuming coffee? Does coffee improve productivity? Also, how much is too much coffee per day? 

6 Benefits of Drinking Coffee 

Great news for coffee drinkers, multiple studies have shown that our favourite morning beverage is linked to a number of benefits.

1. Productivity Enhancer

It’s true, coffee really does give you a mental boost that can aid with productivity. Coffee is a stimulant that makes us feel alert and can temporarily relieve feelings of tiredness and fatigue. After you drink a coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream before travelling to your brain and blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine, opening the door for enhanced firing of neurons such as dopamine. 

The result is an improvement in general mental function, which numerous controlled human studies have indicated. The benefits extend across areas such as mood, memory, energy levels and response times.

2. Improved Physical Performance 

Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. People feel more energetic after drinking coffee because there is an increase of the hormone adrenaline in our bloodstreams. Adrenaline is known as the fight-or-flight hormone which prepares our bodies for increased physical exertion. Research has shown increased physical performance and reaction times after caffeine consumption. 

Caffeine also aids in breaking down body fat by making free fatty acids obtainable as fuel. Consequently, including a coffee, or some form of caffeine in your diet can be helpful to your fitness and even weight loss goals. 

3. May Lower Your Risk of Disease 

There are a number of diseases that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of developing. Studies have shown that major neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia and Parkinson’s are much less common in coffee drinkers. Observational studies have also illustrated a possible reduction in coffee drinkers’ developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, coffee appears to help defend against two of the leading causes of death worldwide: bowel and liver cancer.

4. Nutritional Benefits

Everybody knows that coffee contains the antioxidant caffeine but not everyone is aware that it packs a punch in terms of other helpful antioxidants.  These antioxidants help fight inflammation, a significant factor in many chronic conditions, from cancer to arthritis. Many people who are eating a standard Western diet may actually be receiving more antioxidants from their coffee consumption than fruit and vegetables. There are additional nutritional benefits contained within a finished brew of coffee such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin B2 and vitamin B5.

5. Can Make You Happier

A number of studies have mapped a direct correlation between coffee consumption and reduced rates of depression. This may be because caffeine is known to activate mood controlling neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.  

6. May Improve Longevity

With the number of diseases that coffee drinkers appear to have reduced risk of developing, it makes sense that coffee is linked to improved longevity. Several studies have indicated a lower risk of death in coffee drinkers.

Negatives of Coffee Consumption

Even the most avid coffee fan may have experienced some of the negative effects associated with coffee at some stage, usually when they’ve tried to abruptly stop drinking coffee or when they’ve consumed too much. Side effects might include anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, increased heart rate, headaches, frequent urination and addiction. 

Fortunately, these side-effects seem to mostly be associated with consuming large doses of coffee. However, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms it makes sense to re-evaluate your coffee consumption. For some people, even small doses of coffee don’t agree with them.

How Much Coffee is Healthy?

Australia is one of the top 30 coffee-consumer countries in the world and our obsession with coffee is unlikely to subside. 

The exact number of coffees that it’s healthy to consume per day is a bit subjective given we all vary in size, as do coffee cups and the caffeine quantities in them. As a general guide, moderate coffee consumption is considered to be two to three, eight-ounce cups a day.

For most of us, keeping our coffee consumption at a moderate level is advisable, however everyone is different and the best method is to listen to your body to determine how much coffee is the right amount for you.

How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?