Coffee is not something you readily associate with health and fitness but it always seems to be in the news. There have been countless studies that say coffee is good for our health, bad for our health and everything in between. Everyone has a theory about its health benefits or disadvantages, as well as their own way of drinking it.
Caffeine is probably the most widely used stimulant in the world but can it really improve your health and fitness? When it comes to exercise, studies show caffeine can boost performance. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that caffeine before a workout led to exercise being perceived as less difficult and more enjoyable.
Consuming coffee prior to playing sport has been found to improve attention to detail, observance of your surroundings, and reduce symptoms of fatigue through .caffeine’s effect on the central nervous system.
Research indicates the optimum amount is 3-4mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight one hour prior to exercise. An average mug of coffee contains approximately 100mg of caffeine. So for someone who weighs 80kg that would equate to around THREE average mugs. To me that sounds like quite a lot to drink before a workout!
Recently, two particular coffee trends have been making the news. Bulletproof coffee has been touted as a way to ramp up your health and fitness with caffeine. Bulletproof consists of a cup of coffee with added grass-fed butter and coconut oil. The idea is to replace breakfast with a mug of this combo, which is supposed to supress hunger while boosting energy and burning fat. Once you get past the idea of consumer a large slab of butter for breakfast and blend it really well with the coffee, it doesn’t taste too bad. If you like creamy coffee – you’ll love bulletproof. I was buzzing after a mug but the lack of solid food made me feel quite peculiar by lunchtime. And at 500+ calories per mug you need to think quite carefully about having one.
If drinking butter for breakfast is not for you, then you might prefer cold brewed coffee. This new health trend makes coffee less acidic, so it’s kinder to your teeth and stomach. Hot coffee releases oils that give the drink that famous ‘hit’ but they also disguise a lot of the subtle flavours. Brewing coffee grounds in cold water – for a total of 12 hours or more – has been shown to reduce acidity by around 70%, the taste is softer so you don’t need to add milk and sugar to dial it down.
Whether you like you coffee hot, cold or buttery, if you’re thinking of upping your caffeine content as part of your fitness regime, remember to also pay attention to your water intake. Stay hydrated and drink an extra glass of water for every cup of coffee.