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In the past, caffeinated coffee has been blamed for numerous ailments. For one, an old wives tail claims that caffeine stunts one’s growth, and some researchers believed that caffeinated coffee contributed to heart disease and even cancer. However, more recent studies show that caffeinated coffee may actually be beneficial for one’s health. For most caffeinated coffee drinkers, the benefits of the beverage outweigh the drawbacks.
Today, comprehensive research shows no correlation between heat disease or cancer and caffeinated coffee consumption. The reversal in this claim can be attributed to lifestyle. Earlier studies might not have accounted for now-known, high-risk activities, like smoking and a lack of exercise. Such behaviors were more common in heavy caffeinated coffee drinkers during these earlier studies. In addition, modern research has shown that coffee might actually have health benefits, protecting one from Type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Coffee, which boasts numerous antioxidants, can be beneficial when consumed in moderation.
In addition, coffee might aid in weight loss. When consumed conservatively, coffee increases alertness and one’s metabolism. In fact, caffeine is the top ingredient in most weight loss supplements. With a higher metabolism, one can more efficiently break down fat, and these fatty acids are in turn burned more quickly. When athletes consume caffeine 30 minutes before exercise, their bodies convert fat to energy 30 percent more effectively. In turn, when bodies burn fat, glucose and amino acids are preserved, allowing the body’s blood sugar to remain at higher levels for longer. Lower blood sugar makes one feel hungry, and higher blood sugar levels not only ward off hunger, but it also facilitates thinking and improves concentration.
For serious athletes, caffeine can also serve as a performance and endurance enhancer. Recent tests performed by the University of Guelph show that consuming caffeinated coffee 30 minutes prior to a rigorous workout results in enhanced endurance, faster performance, reduced fatigue, and quicker body recovery. However, the most effective form of performance-enhancing caffeine is a pill, not a cup of coffee. Coffee contains numerous other elements that might actually inhibit the release of some caffeine.
However, caffeinated coffee should be consumed in moderation, especially when applied to weight loss or exercise enhancement. Experts recommend that adults do not consume more than two cups of coffee per day, and note that coffee alone will not result in weight loss. Instead, a proper diet and exercise regime are more important weight loss factors. In addition, caffeinated coffee should not be consumed during workouts. Caffeinated coffee can actually dehydrate the body, which has severe consequences. One must also use caution when using caffeine as a performance enhancer. Numerous athletic groups, like the International Olympic Committee, forbid athletes that have very high levels of caffeine in their systems to compete.
Although caffeinated coffee might not be harmful when consumed moderately, it does not have the same essential nutrients that can be found in juices or milk. Coffee additives, like cream and sugar, add calories to one’s diet. Very heavy caffeinated coffee consumption is defined as drinking more than seven cups of coffee a day. Such coffee consumption might result in restlessness, irritability, increased anxiety, and sleep problems.
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