There have been many articles published on the health benefits of caffeine. If you’re serious about your exercise regimen or endurance activity, multiple studies have shown that caffeine improves exercise performance. Additionally, caffeine has been shown to prevent diabetes and improve cardiovascular health. A new study has received a great deal of media attention in the last two weeks. This study involved almost 500,000 subjects and analyzed whether coffee consumption improved longevity. The results were highly impressive. Coffee drinkers (4-8 cups a day) on average, lived 14 to 18% longer. What was surprising, however, is the benefits of longevity accrued to coffee drinkers, whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
We know that coffee contains other healthy ingredients, such as polyphenols. Why these findings are of interest to endurance athletes and serious exercisers is that polyphenols have also been shown to enhance exercise performance and prevent exercise-induced muscle damage. Researchers have shown that a polyphenol-rich diet can increase exercise performance by almost 2% and significantly reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. The reason being- polyphenols are strong antioxidants. Foods that are very rich in polyphenols include bran, apples, pears, grapefruit, strawberries, red wine and chocolate.
So when you start that morning run or ride with your cup of joe, you’re not only getting alert, but also providing your body with caffeine that improves endurance performance and polyphenols to help reduce post-exercise muscle damage. All this plus the fact you may live longer.