Coffee lovers around the world drink approximately 2.25 billion cups of coffee a day. Quite possibly you are one of them. Does caffeine help athletes?
When enjoying your morning coffee, you probably seldom think about its health benefits or risks. In 1991, coffee was included by the World Health Organization on the list of possible carcinogenic foods. In the following years, a number of studies were carried out, which led to clear conclusions. This drink is not directly associated with an increased risk of cancer. Coffee was thus not only acquitted, she even got some satisfaction at the scientific level. The results of research show the positive contribution of regular coffee drinking to reducing the risk of the causes of certain types of cancer. Further research has even concluded that consuming a reasonable amount of coffee can be considered a healthy drink. However, if you are used to enjoying a cigarette with your coffee, the previous lines do not apply to you.
What is the appropriate daily dose of coffee?
Coffee is a complex blend of more than a thousand chemicals. Its grains contain a number of beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin B 2, B 3, magnesium, potassium, or various phenolic compounds or antioxidants. And of course they also contain caffeine. This is about 95 mg in one cup (about 220 ml). As an appropriate daily amount of caffeine, 400 mg is generally recommended, which corresponds to 3 to 5 cups. But the reaction to it is not the same for everyone. Low to medium doses of caffeine (50-300 mg) may cause a temporary increase in alertness, energy and ability to concentrate. However, higher doses can also lead to negative effects, such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia or increased heart rate.
Health benefits of coffee
The results of many studies show that consuming an adequate amount of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of certain diseases, such as second-degree diabetes, liver disease (eg cirrhosis, gallstones) or heart disease. Coffee is also associated with beneficial effects on intestinal inflammation.
Possible health benefits associated with drinking coffee include a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and the associated certain protection against diabetes, as well as a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease or liver cancer.
A 2012 study concluded that adequate coffee drinking can make a significant contribution to protecting against chronic heart disease. People who drank the recommended amount of coffee each day had an 11% lower risk of heart failure than those who did not drink coffee at all. An international meta-analysis from 2017 focusing on various coffee studies concluded that caffeine consumption has at least a small positive benefit for our cardiovascular health, including stabilizing blood pressure.
Coffee also has its downsides
More sensitive individuals may experience symptoms of nervousness, anxiety and insomnia after ingestion of caffeine. This does not mean that they have to avoid coffee completely. It just can’t be exaggerated. The daily amount of coffee should be monitored by those who have a problem with excessive blood pressure fluctuations. Expect caffeine to increase blood pressure overall.
If you overdo it with coffee, caffeine can cause you a headache or tremor. These are not life-threatening conditions, but if you start to experience these symptoms, you should avoid coffee. And if that doesn’t work, try at least decaffeinated coffee.
Pregnant women must also watch out for caffeine. If you can’t get rid of coffee completely, at least make it a truly special opportunity. Caffeine passing through the placenta to the fetus is often associated with pregnancy weight loss, low birth weight and the risk of preterm birth.
So does coffee belong to a healthy diet?
Due to the possible negative side effects that some people may experience when drinking coffee, it is not necessary to start drinking it. There are many other more suitable ways to eat healthy. If you are already used to coffee, it is not necessary to increase the amount that you normally drink daily. An occasional alternative to classic coffee can be decaffeinated coffee, which has a similar health benefit.
Not to be missed is your favorite way of serving coffee. This is essential from the point of view of healthy eating. Standard black coffee is very low in calories. One cup contains only 2 calories. But sugar, cream, milk, all increase the number of calories quickly. One tablespoon of whole milk contains 9 calories, the same amount of cream contains 52 calories. A tablespoon of sugar holds about 48 calories, so if you have coffee with cream and sugar, you add more than 100 extra calories to your daily cup. The real caloric danger can then lie in wait for you with special drinks, lattes or mixed iced coffee drinks. These are often super large and can contain from 200 to 500 calories with an extremely large amount of added sweeteners.
A pile of sugar, saturated fat from a cup filled with whipped cream rather than coffee, on top of a layer of syrup with a dubious taste. These are often unnecessary ingredients that negatively balance the health benefits of black coffee itself. Isn’t it better to enjoy really good coffee in peace, maybe only once a day? Stop, get to know its aroma, enjoy its taste…
Generally speaking, quality coffee goes hand in hand with healthy eating. After all, there is no unhealthy food or drink, but their unhealthy amount.
Caffeine as an athlete’s assistant?
Coffee and sports, does it go together? Will a cup of coffee support your sports performance, or will it make it more difficult for you? If you drink coffee regularly and you are used to it, you do not have to avoid it for better sports performance. Caffeine will probably support you thanks to its stimulating effects. Nevertheless, despite some research, the use of caffeine as a supportive supplement is a rather controversial topic. So think carefully when and under what conditions you will reach for a cup of coffee.
One of the conclusions of the studies on this topic is that caffeine promotes performance in endurance disciplines rather than short-term intensive activities. In these, its positive effect is not sufficiently proven. Caffeine is essential for the burning of glycogen in muscle. When glycogen becomes the main source of energy, our body reaches for another source, fat. And it is caffeine that significantly helps to mobilize fat stores, causing the muscle to use the energy from the fat supply a little earlier. This delays the depletion of glycogen stores and prolongs the time required for the athlete to perform. Unfortunately, the mechanism by which this caffeine can be described has not yet been sufficiently described. Experiments focused on this phenomenon focused on measuring glycogen levels in muscle, not in the intestines.
By streamlining the glycolysis process due to the presence of caffeine, our muscles continue to produce less lactate. As a result, we feel more fit and our muscles are not so heavily burdened.
However, each coin has two sides. As mentioned above, caffeine can also have side effects. And it is these that can manifest themselves more intensely during sports performance. Whether it’s a headache or muscle tremor. Caffeine also has a diuretic effect. This is not such a problem during a normal day. Along with the coffee, you simply have a glass of soda and the loss of fluids is playfully compensated. However, this can be more difficult in sports. Sufficient watering of the body during sports performance is crucial, as you can read in our older article . From this point of view, coffee is not highly recommended just before sports, if you will not be able to replenish fluids quickly and comfortably during exercise. Keep in mind, however, that once you feel thirsty, it may be too late to achieve quality sports performance.
However, each organism reacts a little differently. Some people are more used to coffee, others do not need as much fluid for their performance as others. Therefore, it is good to first try everything for yourself and find out how your body will react to coffee during exercise.
As a result, it is not clear whether coffee is more of a benefit or a burden for your sports performance. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the more beneficial aspects of caffeine (delaying fatigue, sharpening the senses, faster work of the heart, specific use of energy, higher production of adrenaline) are more important for them, or whether they prefer to avoid coffee due to its negatives.
Coffee is not like coffee
In most cases, the cup of coffee you order at the cafe will be significantly different from the coffee you make at home. Whether a black drink will taste delicious or have a terrible aftertaste will be affected by a number of factors. The basic ones are the type of coffee beans used, the method of roasting them, when and how the coffee is ground and, of course, the method of its preparation.
We recently tried out several Prague cafes for you and we have prepared an overview of top “to go” coffees for you. So now you know where to go for the best coffee in Prague. But do you know what the very essence of this divine drink for some is? Why can its taste be so diametrically different compared to several cafes?
Coffee beans are the seeds of a red or purple colored fruit of a coffee plant of the genus Coffea. These seeds are called coffee cherries. Although coffee beans are not technically grains, they are so called for their resemblance to real beans. The genus Coffea includes about 100 different species of coffee trees, from shrubs to trees, and their origin is mainly from Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands.