Apart from the fact that coffee is obviously a popular drink, it tastes good, and seems to contribute to a feeling of well-being and energy for many people, the health and performance benefits of coffee drinking may be due to the stimulant caffeine and other naturally occurring plant constituents.
Caffeine is one of the sports performance supplements recognized as safe and effective at the recommended doses. Caffeine is not banned or listed by the World Anti-Doping Agency for sport. The reasons caffeine helps is not altogether clear, but it may have to do with delaying neural/brain fatigue—that is, you don’t feel fatigue or pain as early as you would without the caffeine dose. Also, caffeine may provide direct muscle performance effects. The early theory that caffeine enhances fat burning seems to have been discounted as a performance mechanism in athletes. Caffeine does seem to boost performance in the longer endurance events like marathons and triathlons but has limited benefit in competition in power sports like sprints, or even bodybuilding and weight lifting. However, caffeine may still provide benefit for athletes in these power sports by allowing them to train harder.
Caffeine’s ability to reduce the “rate of perceived exertion” (RPE) associated with pain and discomfort is likely to enhance high-volume training ability.
In addition, coffee/caffeine may give some trainers and competitors a feeling of well-being and power—after all, it is an effective brain and adrenal stimulant, although an effect may be more psychological than physiological, and the line between the two can be blurred.
Health Effects of Coffee
In a range of human health studies, coffee and caffeine have been associated with possible prevention of various diseases, with few adverse effects in healthy people up to 3-4 cups a day, averaging around 400 milligrams of caffeine.
Health Benefits of Coffee
- lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
- protects against liver disease
- protects against Parkinson’s disease
- reduces risk of endometrial cancer
- protects against Alzheimer’s disease