Did you know that your coffee habit may actually be good for your health?

For most of us, life is fueled by coffee. We look forward to that steaming mug of joe first thing in the morning (and maybe an afternoon pick-me-up-cup or two). I know that my own daily writing habit is contingent upon a constant source of coffee.  Honestly, whenever I land in a new place, my first order of business it to find a great local coffee shop to feed my addiction. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that my coffee habit might actually save my life.

Coffee may improve brain health and slow the aging process.

I love freshly roasted beans, but I had no idea that delicious roasty flavor might also benefit my health. When you roast coffee beans the process creates chemicals called phenylindanes. According to Donald Weaver, the co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute at the University of Toronto, phenylindanes may help stop the build-up of two proteins in the brain that have been linked to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A smaller Stanford University study also correlated the high caffeine content of coffee to a reduction in the “fundamental inflammatory mechanism associated with human aging and the chronic diseases that come with it.”

Drinking coffee before a workout helps your body burn fat.

Apparently the cup of coffee I enjoy before my morning run might actually be improving its effects. According to research at the University of Nottingham, drinking coffee (but not water) stimulates our brown adipose tissue (BAT), a type of body fat that moderates our chemistry to keep us healthy. As opposed to white adipose tissue (WAT), which protects against starvation and makes your body appear fat, BAT improves your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, promotes bone health and helps to build muscle mass. Activating BAT by drinking coffee helps you burn WAT more efficiently. Pretty cool, huh?

People who drink coffee may even live longer. 

If none of the previous correlations make you feel justified in your coffee habit, consider this: higher coffee consumption has been associated with a lower risk of death. According to a study of 20,000 individuals in Barcelona, Spain, people who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower risk of mortality than those who never or almost never consumed coffee. Apparently, there was a 22% lower risk of mortality for every two additional cups of coffee per day.

I think its time for a coffee break, don’t you?

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