Coffee’s reputation and statistics have gone up and down over the last decades. But in the past few year more research has shown that coffee has several health benefits for everyone and especially runners for their endurance and speed. Consuming reasonable amounts of coffee per day, no more than 2-3 cups per day or even better to split the caffeine intake between 1-2 cups of coffee and one green tea is even more beneficial. The recommended amount of caffeine per day is about 5mg/kg bodyweight.
Average amount of caffeine in drinks and energy supplements:
– Brewed coffee 250ml: 95mg-180mg – 1 Shot of espresso: 65mg – Green tea 250ml: 35mg – Black tea 250ml: 48mg – Energy gel: 20-40mg
Coffee Health Benefits:
Lowers the risk of certain cancers- Coffee beans contain high amounts of antioxidants, which helps prevent free radical damage that could lead to cancer. Coffee had been show to lower the risks of leukemia, melanoma, prostate and endometrial cancers. Research has shown that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 26%.
Prevents type 2 diabetes- Coffee contains chromium, a mineral that helps the body to utilize insulin, which regulates blood sugar. To drink 1-2 cups of coffee per day can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease- Drinking coffee has some brain-boosting benefits that can lower the risk of dementia.
Helps protect the heart- Patients or athletes with abnormal heart rhythms were advised to avoid caffeine. But a recent study in 2018, showed that drinking coffee can decrease atrial fibrillation frequency by up to 13%. Atrial fibrillation or flutter is a very common condition in endurance athletes. People who drink coffee are 30% less likely to die of stroke and 19% less likely to die of heart disease.
Live longer- Drinking reasonable amounts of coffee daily can actually increase your life span by reducing the risk of certain diseases and cancers.
Coffee Benefits for Runners:
Increases mental alertness and state of mind– Caffeine helps to boost your mental alertness, improve your mood and actually to increase your desire to run harder. This is a great benefit especially for early morning runs, enjoy a few sips of coffee and enjoy your run!
Increases power and speed in long-distance running- Caffeine enhances reaction time and improves neuromuscular coordination (how fast your brain can send signals to your muscles to contract and relax). This can be very beneficial for either speedwork or long-distance runs. Improving neuromuscular coordination allows your leg muscles to fire up faster and more forcefully. Which means you can run faster or longer with less effort.
Caffeine increases heat tolerance- Drinking coffee when training in the heat helps to increase your stamina and endurance in hot weather by 15-23%.
Pre-race coffee- Some runners fear the diuretic side effects of drinking coffee before a race. Drinking coffee one hour pre-race or run will actually take care of any diuretic issues before the race start. You don’t have to consume large amounts, even a few sips can make a big difference.
Coffee for ultra-runners- During an ultra-distance race, to start consuming caffeine halfway or ¾ into the race (depending on the distance) will have so many benefits to boost up your alertness, improve your mood and motivation and reactivate your stamina to help you get to the finish line.
Coffee helps with recovery– When combining some carbohydrates and coffee post-run helps to rebuild glycogen stores 66% more than just consuming carbohydrates.
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!