Get leaner, stronger and live longer…. by drinking coffee!

I love everything about coffee in the morning. The smell, the grinding of the beans and of course I’d be lying if I didn’t mention the gentle ‘high’ I get from it. If you’re like me then sitting down for that morning coffee is a simple pleasure that can set the tone for the day ahead. In fact the first person most Melbournian’s connect with in the morning is their chosen barrista! However, there has always been a lot of debate on the health benefits of coffee. It seems now that the medical community is finally giving some validity to the claims many health experts have been making for years – that coffee has a myriad of health benefits. The title of this article may have raised your eyebrows so let’s cut straight to the chase. Without going into great detail about the many other known health benefits of consuming coffee such as: decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation and certain types of cancers, we will discuss how consuming coffee can actually help you burn fat, put on muscle and live a longer life! First of all it is important to understand that not all coffee is created equal. That double caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks is not going to give you any nutritional value. We are talking about black coffee here – the less added to it the better. Let’s get to the science of it.

Coffee contains caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid both rich in vital antioxidants. These antioxidants, help improve your cells sensitivity to insulin and has been shown to greatly reduce risk of type 2 diabetes in clinical trials. Insulin resistance is characterized physically by excess fat around the ‘love handles’ region and central obesity.

To maximize this fat burning potential, taking in coffee prior to exercise has also been shown to enhance performance and increase work capacity. Caffeine is fully absorbed in the small intestine about 45 minutes after consumption. As it also crosses the blood brain barrier it can give you greater focus in the gym allowing you to train harder, lift heavier and complete more work, thus helping you achieve greater gains in the gym. Coffee consumption 45 minutes prior to workout can also help mobilize free fatty acids allowing them to be oxidized during exercise. Now I’ll let you in on a little known secret. In order to burn fat for longer after your morning coffee, try swapping your morning OJ for grapefruit juice! Grapefruit juice contains a molecule called naringenin which extends the half life fat burning potential of caffeine meaning you will be burning fat for hours post workout while sitting at your desk! The timing off coffee is very important.

Taking in coffee directly after your workout can potentially have the adverse affect for fat loss. As coffee can increase cortisol (stress hormone) it can blunt the production of growth hormone thus inhibiting the muscle building process. On training days it is advised to wait a few hours before your next ‘hit’. This brings me to my final point – how can coffee consumption help you live longer? A recent study actually concluded that those who consume coffee live up to 5 years longer than those that abstain from it. The main reason for this may lie in the fact that due to the limited variety of a typical western diet most people rely on the bitter herbs in coffee as their only source of antioxidants! Another major reason is thought to be that coffee actually induces liver detoxification processes, meaning it sends signals to the liver to clean itself up. With the amount of man made chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, this process of cannot be underestimated. So the next time you finish that beautiful cup of coffee ask yourself this question – do you want to want to experience the full fat burning potential from it by hitting the gym or would you prefer to sit at your desk and dream about the body you wish you had! The message is simple.