Coffee is a necessity to many of us. To the rest, it’s an enjoyable, satisfying way to start the day or end a meal. Coffee is a popular drink. It has been shown to have several health benefits. But there are times when you should and should not drink it.
Reasons to Drink Coffee
People drink coffee for a number of reasons.
- To wake up and get going in the morning. This may be the most popular reason that people give for drinking coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant and many people feel that they “need” that boost in the morning.
- To help digest a meal. Many people find that drinking coffee after a meal helps counteract the sleepiness or tired feeling that you feel after eating a big meal. The caffeine helps you stay alert.
- To stay awake to complete a work or study assignment. This is another way that coffee is popularly used. But as we will see, this can backfire if you do it too often.
- They enjoy the taste. Many people find coffee delicious. They enjoy experimenting with different flavors and blends.
Is Coffee Healthy?
Coffee has several health benefits.
If the caffeine in coffee bothers you, or you’ve been told to avoid drinking stimulants, you can still get the same benefits by drinking decaffeinated coffee. These health benefits include:
- Protection against certain types of cancer, including liver cancer.
- Lower risk of depression and suicide.
- Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Protection against Parkinson’s disease.
- Improved alertness and mental function.
What is the Best Time to Drink Coffee?
When your brain needs it. Most of us reach for our first coffee the moment we get up. But according to scientists, we should actually slow down that reaction and wait for an hour or two.
These studies have found that when we first wake up, our brain produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It does this to get us awake and moving. If we drink coffee at the same time, we won’t get the full effects of the caffeine.
You’ll also add to the already-high stress levels in your body. A small amount of stress is fine and can even be good for you. Too much can be dangerous.
It’s better to wait until our cortisol levels drop and then take some caffeine, because it will have more of an effect then. For most people, this is between 9:30 and 11:30 in the morning and 2:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon.
Before you exercise. Caffeine has been shown in multiple studies to help you work out. It allows you to endure a longer workout and increases your body’s ability to burn fat.
Researchers are not exactly sure how caffeine does this, but the effects have been documented. The same research found that, contrary to popular belief, drinking coffee won’t make you dehydrated during a workout.
The International Society for Sports Nutrition has taken an official position on the use of caffeine in sports. Among other things, the position states that caffeine is “beneficial for high-intensity exercise, including team sports such as soccer and rugby, both of which are categorized by intermittent activity within a period of prolonged duration.”
The Kathy at Daily Cupo also says, “Caffeine is effective for enhancing sport performance in trained athletes when consumed in low to moderate dosages.”
The conclusion you can draw from this is that drinking coffee before your workout can help you improve your performance, lose weight and work out longer.
If you work out in the evening, you may want to skip this step. Drinking coffee too close to your bedtime will interfere with your sleep.
When Should You Not Drink Coffee？
When it’s steaming hot from the pot. It’s tempting to want to grab your coffee as soon as the pot is ready, but try to avoid doing that. Drinking anything that’s scalding hot can be a dangerous move for your health. According to a 2016 study by the World Health Organization, regularly drinking beverages that were 149 degrees or hotter could give you an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.
That’s especially worrisome because that happens to be the temperature that many coffee shops and restaurants serve their coffee at. Many home coffee makers also brew coffee that’s about that temperature. Be safe and be patient. Let your coffee cool for about five minutes before you down it.
When you’re using coffee to make up for lost sleep. Many of us use coffee to stay awake and alert when we haven’t had enough sleep. According to health experts, anything under five hours of sleep is insufficient to keep us working at peak performance. New studies have found that after three nights of insufficient sleep, caffeine won’t help you stay awake.
Six hours before your bedtime. According to research on levels of cortisol in the brain, drinking even a small amount of coffee six hours before your bedtime will disrupt your sleep.
The research concluded that if you want to ensure you can sleep, give yourself that much time for the coffee to leave your system.
If you need calcium. Coffee causes us to lose calcium from our bones. That’s one reason why growing children should not drink it. It has the same effect on adults. Fortunately, you can add calcium by simply putting milk or cream in your coffee.
Drink to Your Health
Let’s sum up what we’ve learned. The best times to drink coffee are:
- An hour or two after you wake up.
- Before a workout.
- In the late afternoon.
The worst times to drink coffee are:
- When the coffee is very hot.
- Six hours before your bedtime.
- When you first wake up.
Coffee has many health benefits, but using it properly is key to enjoying it. Fill up your cup and enjoy.