The Fit List

Go ahead...have another cup.     Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Shaiith

A Cup (or Two) of Excellent Health

Coffee can supercharge your workout, save your liver, and fight depression. So go ahead and pour yourself a second cup.

The good news about your morning cup(s) of joe keeps pouring in. Drinking two or more cups of coffee daily reduces your risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66 percent.

And the findings aren’t a fluke. A 2006 study that followed more than 125,000 Californians for about 20 years found that for each cup of coffee consumed per day, participants were 22 percent less likely to develop the liver disease at all. Participants who drank both coffee and alcohol also had lower liver enzymes—indicators of liver damage or disease—than those who drank alcohol but not coffee. So there's your excuse to spike your morning cup.

Beyond your liver, studies have long shown that coffee is beneficial to your workouts. Caffeine ups fatty acids in your blood, fueling your body with fat instead of carbohydrates (saving those supplies until the crucial final moments in a workout or race). And serious athletes have long bought in: caffeine is one of the few drugs allowed in sports competition.

After it was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency list, researchers studied more than 20,000 urine samples from official national and international competitions and found that three out of four athletes had consumed caffeine either during or before competition—with endurance sports showing the highest caffeine excretions.

On top of that? Coffee provides the biggest source of antioxidants in the American diet, may both prevent Parkinson’s and help control its symptoms, may reduce risk of diabetes, and—unlike soda—may help prevent depression. So don’t feel guilty about picking up that second cup—you might be helping yourself in the long run.

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