Caffeine, Health, and Optimal Performance: A Blog Post for Coffee Lovers
Coffee (and caffeine) deserves some recognition for helping me get my first health blog started and for helping me get to my optimal level of performance at the time. I grew up drinking coffee and the smell has always had a euphoric effect on me.
I had a great childhood, which I am currently just basing on the fact that I was lucky enough to wake up with coffee next to my bed each morning before school. I am sure that my blood type was at least 50% coffee at some point, especially when starting my first health blog. Then, in varsity, I decided to cut out caffeine to see if it would improve my skin. It did. I was sad about it, but thank goodness for decaf.
What I learned was that the caffeine was contributing to my anxiety, and would make me jittery. It would increase my cortisol levels, which then increased my testosterone levels, and made me break out. Do not worry though, I only have a problem because I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which means that my testosterone levels are already too high for a woman.
If your testosterone levels are normal, and you do not have this condition, then you do not need to worry about that. If you do have PCOS, check out my PCOS blog here if you want to learn more about managing this condition.
I still had some decaf coffee now and then, but when I cut out milk and that became more difficult as well, I mostly stopped drinking coffee for a while. Now, this is still a post about the benefits of caffeine. I think coffee and caffeine is wonderful for health for most people, but my body is just sensitive to it. I still had decaf on occasion though.
Unless you have anxiety and see that it makes you jittery, there is no real reason to cut it out. Obviously, you should not go overboard, otherwise, you will have more energy than you can handle.
During my last failed attempt to lose weight (as a health blogger, I really have to figure out how to stop overeating), I started drinking decaf coffee quite regularly again, as I remembered that the taste of coffee used to help me a bit with cravings.
Well, the diet failed, but I did become addicted to drinking coffee again. I do not need caffeine to become a coffee addict. It is the taste, soothing warmth, and mouth pleasure that I am after. I just love the smell of coffee, the social aspect around it, and the way that it complements any dessert (and just before you wonder why a health blogger is writing about eating dessert, I only have coffee with healthy desserts).
Caffeine Promotes Optimal Physical Performance
If you want to be able to work out or train for longer periods of time and also train harder, have a strong cup of coffee before a workout and test out the difference. This has shown to improve performance, so embrace your love of coffee, and time it accordingly if you want to use it to help you become your optimal self.
It Helps Reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
If you have two cups of coffee after a workout, it can help reduce muscle soreness. This is a wonderful excuse to treat yourself to coffee after a workout, which is a far better idea than rewarding yourself with unhealthy food.
Drinking Coffee Helps to Protect Your Brain
Drinking coffee regularly (around two cups a day) can help to slow down cognitive decline and the development of brain-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Caffeine Counteracts Mental Fatigue and Promotes Optimal Brain Performance
If you are tired because you have recently had a baby, had to work a few late nights, or binge-watched Game of Thrones instead of going to bed early like you initially wanted to, you already know that drinking a cup of coffee can help wake you up and help you function as a normal human in society. It can be used as a drug to reduce mental fatigue and enhance alertness and performance.
Coffee is a Good Source of Antioxidants
A lot of people struggle to consume enough antioxidants in their diets, which are essential for counteracting free-radical damage (also known as oxidative damage) to your cells. Luckily, coffee is a source of antioxidants, and can be one of the sources in your diet, along with fruit, vegetables, cacao, dark chocolate, herbal tea, nuts, etc.
Coffee Helps You Bond, Which Helps You Live Longer
Having good relationships throughout your life has been strongly linked to increased longevity. Online relationships do not really count, even though we are technologically more connected than before. Bond with friends and family over a cup (or two) of coffee on a regular basis. You will reap some of the health benefits of coffee that have been mentioned in this blog post, and boost longevity at the same time. Now that is a good excuse to relax over a cup.
Not that you needed an excuse to indulge by drinking a cup of coffee, but it is fun to know that what you are consuming is also beneficial for optimal health, and that having it strategically can help you in your quest for optimal performance.
If you do not experience any side effects from drinking coffee (like this unfortunate blogger who must stick with decaf), it can be a great asset in your quest for optimal health, as well as mental and physical performance.
If coffee wakes you up too much, stop having it a few hours before bed. How long you wait before bed depends on your tolerance and your performance desires. Maybe you have to stop around 14:00 or you can only have one cup of coffee with caffeine in the morning and have to drink decaf for the rest of the day, so you can get optimal sleep.
If you liked this blog post and want to learn more health information that will help your body with optimal performance, check out the rest of this blog. The Hart of Health is a blog focused on self-optimization and optimal health and performance.