[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen people picture dieting or a healthy lifestyle, images of restriction inevitably crop up. Whether your personal bane is wheatgrass shots, apple cider vinegar or herbal tea, you simply aren’t looking forward to the long road ahead. But in order for a dietary plan to be successful, it must be sustainable. Hence, you should include your favorite food and beverages in it in some way.
For some people, this means having a cheat meal. For others, it means learning to find new favorite foods. I know I personally switched from pizza to homemade super healthy burgers as my must-have food and I have never looked back. But what if I told you that your new path doesn’t have to purely consist of asparagus, green tea and fruit kebabs, what if a mysterious friend – coffee, could join you too!
Science backing up coffee
You are most likely going to be ditching your triple chocolate macchiato from Starbucks with extra everything for now because there is enough sugar in that one cup to shatter your entire meal plan in one go. However, good old black filter coffee is more than welcome at your breakfast table. Just be careful when it comes to sugar and the milk or cream.
Caffeine may aid fat loss when exercising by greatly enhancing your body’s ability to utilize the stored energy in fat cells instead of the energy from the glycogen stored within your body, thus quickening the rate at which you lose fat. This and the fact that caffeine helps suppress appetite is one of the main reasons that caffeine is one of the key components in weight loss supplements.
A further component, chlorogenic acid, of coffee can help to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates; however the main component of coffee, caffeine is hugely beneficial for energy boosts. This is due to the fact that caffeine enters the brain and finds the neurotransmitter adenosine, which is responsible for making the body feel weary and exhausted.
Caffeine then acts as an inhibitor to adenosine, stopping the feeling of exhaustion and allows you to experience a renewed sense of energy and vitality, which is extremely useful before your early morning run or Pilate’s class. This is especially true when you are struggling to get out from under the covers let alone put on your workout clothes and head out the front door.
A further benefit to coffee is that caffeine can raise our total resting metabolic rate (RMR) by anywhere from 3 to 11%, the primary cause of the raise in metabolic rate seems to be an increase in the amount of fat cells being disintegrated. This effect is most prominently reported in overweight but not obese individuals, these people had spikes in their metabolism by 29%, whereas the obese only reached 10%.
Coffee and physical performance
Caffeine can also boost exercise performance, a study published within the journal of Sports Medicine noted that when athletes consumed coffee they were able to perform longer workouts and were able to have a far greater performance than without any caffeine in their system.
This was further illustrated by another study which showed athletes times were 4.2 seconds faster when running 1.5km on a treadmill after a cup of coffee than without the caffeine in their system. Caffeine also has several benefits for mental acuity, which is essential for establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Caffeine has been found to increase the overall level of athlete’s concentration capabilities during physical activity. Coffee also has the effect of increasing and maintaining your willpower throughout the day which will help you choose not only the best food for you, but also help you maintain your focus on your goals.
Caffeine has additional mental benefits such as an overall increase in the use of the brain regions, which control creativity, thereby making you better at everyday tasks like problem solving, so a cup of coffee before or during your next big meeting is a good idea. Moreover, coffee helps to safeguard the brain from damage caused by free-radicals and other toxins, while also enhancing the brain’s natural defenses.
A further benefit to coffee for your next workout is that coffee may help reduce the overall level of physical pain experienced during the workout period, thereby allowing you to perform a greater number of reps and workout for a longer period of time than you would if you were experiencing a greater level of pain. Thereby coffee can help you to achieve your health and fitness goals faster.
There are many ways to lose weight, and countless diet plans and supplements out there to help you on your journey to health and fitness. However, a huge part of losing weight in a sustainable, healthy manner and then to keep the weight from returning is to ultimately change the habits and reasons that caused the weight to appear in the first place.
By making lifestyle changes, they are far more likely to produce long-lasting results, although as with all good things, it takes some time before any real results are seen. Yes, coffee may be able to help you along the way and it has a whole host of benefits that everyone should familiarize themselves with, but caffeine can only take you part of the way, the rest of the journey is up to you.
So, are you ready to take the next step to a healthier lifestyle? If so, a cup of coffee might just be a move in the right direction.
Sarah Jones submitted this guest post. It doesn’t constitute our views or opinions.