If you’re anything like us…
You probably can’t get through your morning without at least one cup of your favourite roast. You might even need two or three cups (we’re not judging).
We all know intuitively that coffee is a great pick-me-up when we’re getting ready to face the day, and we know it has something to do with its caffeine content. Caffeine in coffee tends to get a bit of a bad rap, and you might have a person or two who enjoys making you feel guilty about your daily intake (thanks, mum!).
The good news is, there are actually quite a few positive properties and benefits to caffeine you may not be aware of. Allow us to support you in overcoming your guilt by exploring what they are.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. WHAT IS CAFFEINE?
We don’t want to get too sciencey on you, but it’s good to know what it is we’re actually talking about when we talk about caffeine. And a few new words in the vocabulary never hurt anyone.
That glorious hit you get when you sink into your morning coffee comes from the stimulating properties of the active ingredient in the caffeine: purine alkaloid. Purine alkaloid belongs to the xanthine group, which sits in the larger family of psychoactive substances. It also the main reason for coffee’s bitter flavour.
Psychoactive substances are known to increase the connections between our body and brain, hence why that caffeine hit helps us to feel more awake and alert.
SO, HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IS IN COFFEE?
This depends on a few different factors:
- The type of coffee you drink & the serving size
- The brewing method
- The amount of ground coffee used during brewing
- The type of coffee beans used
Just to give you some idea of what we’re talking about here, we’ve broken down what common coffee servings contain on average:
|Beverage of Choice||Amount of Caffeine|
|8-oz Cup of Brewed Coffee||95mg|
|8-oz Cup of Instant Coffee||62mg|
|1-oz Shot of Espresso||64mg|
|12-oz Cup of Cold Brew||Between 152-234mg|
The biggest factor in the amount of caffeine your coffee contains is the type of bean used. There are a variety of coffee plant species, but the two most popular, and the most likely you’ll use are:
- Coffee Arabica – Commonly referred to as simply Arabica
- Coffee Canephora – Commonly referred to as Robusta
Robusta coffee beans can contain up to twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans. Some coffee enthusiast researchers found that Arabica beans contained between 34.1-38.5g of caffeine per kg, compared with 68.6-81.6g in Robusta beans.
Something to keep in mind if you’ve got a big day ahead.
4 HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAFFEINE IN COFFEE
Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages on the planet, so it makes sense there’s been a fair amount of research dedicated to exploring its potential benefits. We’ve collated our four favourites below:
1. It Can Make You Smarter (Well, for a bit)
We already mentioned that as a psychoactive substance, caffeine aids the connections between your body and brain to help you feel more alert. It does this through blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine (a lot of big words there but bear with us).
When this happens, an alternative neurotransmitter increases – dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for all sorts of wonderful things in the brain including balanced mood, better memory recall, reaction times and general mental functioning.
So, that cuppa in the morning is really just setting you for a day of achievement. Nice.
2. It’s the Biggest Source of Anti-Oxidants in Western Diets
We’re not encouraging you to skip out on the fresh fruit and vegetables, but if you were to forget your morning fruit bowl at home, then it could be that your coffee has your back.
Antioxidants that we consume through foods and beverages are essential for helping us combat chronic degenerative diseases. As it turns out, coffee is pretty high in antioxidants, and one study found that coffee consumption was the biggest contributor to antioxidant levels in adult participants (much to the jaw-dropping surprise of the researchers).
3. It Can Help You Burn Fat
As if you needed any more reasons to keep necking the stuff, it turns out caffeine could actually be pretty good at helping to shift the unwanted pounds.
Caffeine is one of the few natural substances that’s been proven to aid with burning fat. It does this through giving your metabolic rate a much-needed boost – research has shown that it can help increase it by up to 11% faster than normal.
4. It Might Make You Live Longer!
Alongside all of the above, regularly consuming high-quality, fresh coffee has also been linked to reduced risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, liver disease, and even certain types of cancers.
Of course, a lot of the research is correlational and other factors need to be explored, but at face value, we’d say that’s a pretty good reason to keep the cupboards stocked with the best beans you can find.
HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IS A GOOD AMOUNT TO DRINK DAILY?
Coffee jitters are a very real thing, and while we’re big advocates of the stuff, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. You know what we mean?
Current recommended guidelines for a healthy adult, with a balanced diet and regular exercise, are between 300-400mg of caffeine a day.
It’s important to stick to recommended intake guidelines so you’re not falling foul of the downside of caffeine (headaches, nausea, anxiety, increased heart rate – to name just a few. It ain’t pretty, friends)
Other than that, you can now go forth guilt-free and safe in the knowledge that your regular cup(s) of joe is actually doing you more good than you thought.