Drink Coffee For More Than Just Energy - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on February 23, 2015

Drink Coffee For More Than Just Energy

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Katrina Stier
(610) 447-6314

Hepatobiliary surgeon Cosme Manzarbeitia, M.D. offers insights into the many health benefits of drinking coffee.

Coffee gives you more than caffeine;
it contains minerals and nutrients
your body needs.

Each morning, people grab a cup of Joe for a caffeine jolt to get their day going and keep it productive. But, that isn’t the only benefit you’re getting from your coffee.

“There are many health benefits from drinking coffee,” said Cosme Manzarbeitia, M.D., director of transplant services and head of hepatobiliary surgery at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

The first and possibly most obvious benefit of coffee is its ability to make you feel awake. Dr. Manzarbeitia says he typically starts his day with four cups for the jolt of caffeine.

“It increases your energy and awareness,” he says.

But that’s not all it’s capable of.

“It increases fat burning in your body anywhere between 10 and 30 percent,” he said.

You might want to consider downing a cup of coffee before hitting the gym, too.

“Coffee improves physical performance,” he said. The caffeine in coffee stimulates your nervous system, which causes it to send signals to fat cells to break down body fat. When body fat is broken down, it gets released into the blood as free fatty acids, making them available to be used as fuel. Caffeine also increases your “fight or flight” hormone call epinephrine, or adrenaline, which prepares your body for intense physical exertion.

But coffee gives you more than caffeine; it contains minerals and nutrients your body needs.

“It has vitamin B2, vitamin B5, niacin, manganese, magnesium and potassium – that’s all good for you,” Dr. Manzarbeitia said. While one cup contains a small amount of these essential nutrients, people tend to drink more than one cup of coffee per day, which means these small amounts add up.

Coffee may also be able help reduce the risk of several health conditions.

“Coffee has been associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Studies on coffee have also shown that it may be able to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and some types of cancer. And a report from the National Cancer Institute suggests coffee might also promote healthy liver function and protect against cirrhosis.

“You can decrease the damage to your liver if you drink more than four cups of coffee a day,” he said. Cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver has been largely replaced by scar tissue – this condition is commonly caused by hepatitis, fatty liver disease and alcoholism.

Don’t like to drink your coffee black? According to Dr. Manzarbeitia, a little bit of cream and sugar is okay in your java and they won’t negate the health benefits.

But, like most good things, moderation is key. While most Americans drink three or more cups of coffee per day, drinking more than four cups per day, or consuming 500 to 600 milligrams of caffeine, may cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach, a fast heartbeat or muscle tremors.

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