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Wake up and drink the coffee!

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May 10, 2009

Research reveals a number of health benefits associated with moderate consumption of coffee

With 800 billion cups consumed around the world every year, coffee comes second as most consumed beverage worldwide, after water.

Yet, not many people realize that the exhilarating aroma, distinctive taste and invigorating spell they seek in a cup of coffee, are not all there is to ask for. Recent scientific research on coffee brings evidence of several of its positive effects on health, and eliminates some of the myths that have burdened the popular beverage for long. 

Coffee helps you work, learn and exercise better

Perhaps one of the most common myths attached to coffee consumption is the effect of caffeine on health. Current scientific evidence shows that moderate intake of caffeine does not present any health hazards. On the contrary, it provides a number of benefits associated to mental and physical performance. 

Studies have shown that people who drink coffee are relaxed and more interested in their work. The caffeine in coffee helps restore and maintain alertness; improving performance and enhancing your mood. When studying, coffee helps improve attention and wakefulness; increasing attentiveness and, as a result, it facilitates learning.

In addition, studies have established that moderate coffee consumption boosts energy for better physical performance. This could help athletes perform better at endurance exercises of short and long durations, as well as high intensity routines. It can also reduce post-workout muscle pain and feelings of fatigue during the last minutes of work-out.   

But how much is "moderate"? Lynn Al Khatib, Nutritionist at Nestlé Middle East, explains: "Caffeine content in a cup of coffee may vary depending on the origin or composition of the blend, method of brewing, and strength of the roast. However, experts advise coffee drinkers to have a daily intake of less than 300 mg, which is equivalent to 3-4 cups of soluble coffee." 

Moderation, however, is key in making the most of the caffeine benefits. "When we monitor our daily caffeine intake, it is also important to take into consideration the caffeine present in sources beside coffee, such as soft drinks, tea, energy drinks or dark chocolate," advises Al Khatib. 

In general, nutritionists always recommend a healthy and balanced diet that offers all the daily recommendations of macro- and micro-nutrients. Excessive consumption of any food or beverage would render the diet unhealthy, as it would break the recommended balance of nutrients required to maintain health and wellbeing. 

Coffee is the No.1 natural dietary contributor of antioxidants!

Recent research demonstrates that coffee contributes significantly to the daily dietary intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants can help protect your cells from oxidation, and by doing so, it contributes to protecting your body from heart disease, cancer and premature aging. 

"Although there is no established recommended intake of antioxidants, the average diet usually contains around 1 gram per day," says Al-Khatib. "A cup of coffee could contain anywhere between 150-550 mg of antioxidants, depending on the type and blend of coffee beans. In general, coffee antioxidants account for 60% of the total antioxidant intake for moderate coffee drinkers."

Notably, antioxidants represent 30% of coffee solids in soluble coffee, which is produced using pure coffee beans and water, with no additives whatsoever. Soluble coffee could therefore be considered one of the best dietary sources of antioxidants.

Sipping up to alert your senses, enhance your mood, boost your performance and get plenty of antioxidants are major reasons to enjoy drinking coffee beside the exquisite taste and aroma. Experiencing the invigorating benefits of a refreshing cup of coffee is also an occasion to get together with family, friends and work associates everyday! 

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