8 Reasons to Sip on Coffee by Liz Applegate Ph.D

Power Performance
Researchers from the U.K. gave cyclists and triathletes a drink with 350 mg of caffeine, coffee with an equal amount of caffeine, decaf coffee, or a placebo drink. One hour later the participants performed a cycling test. The caffeine group and regular coffee group performed equally well—and both were faster than the placebo and decaf groups.

Boost Antioxidants
Arabica coffee beans are rich in antioxidant compounds called caffeoyl quinic acids. One study showed consuming three cups of Arabica coffee daily for four weeks can lower markers for oxidative DNA damage.

Improve Mood
According to a National Institutes of Health study, adults who drink four cups or more of coffee daily are about 10 percent less likely to be depressed than non-coffee drinkers. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that drinking two or more cups daily of caffeinated coffee significantly lowers the risk of suicide. Scientists think caffeine may work as a mild antidepressant by impacting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine.

Lower Heart-Disease Risk
A study review published in the journal Circulation found that moderate coffee intake (three to four cups a day) is associated with a significant reduction in heart-disease risk. And a recent animal study suggests that coffee may positively impact blood vessel function and bloodflow.

Dodge Diabetes
A meta-analysis in the European Journal of Nutrition stated that for every two cups of regular or decaf coffee you consume per day, your risk for type 2 diabetes decreases by 10 to 12 percent. The greatest risk reduction is in drinkers with healthy BMI, which means coffee may help already-slim runners ward off the disease.

Enhance Brain Function
Research shows that the antioxidants in coffee may help protect the brain from cognitive loss and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. For two to four years, researchers tracked participants who were 65 and older and had mild cognitive loss. Subjects who averaged about three cups of coffee daily over that time frame did not progress to Alzheimer’s, while those who consumed less than that amount were more likely to develop the disease.

Protect Your Liver
A review of liver disease research shows that consuming one to two cups of coffee (not just caffeinated beverages) per day can protect this organ, especially for those at risk of poor liver health, such as people who drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day.

Relieve Stress
Take a whiff of coffee and you’ll likely feel better. That’s because coffee contains volatile aroma compounds that affect mood. When mice undergoing maze testing are exposed to these compounds, it reduces their arousal level, exerting an antianxiety effect.

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Three Short Cut Runners Should Avoid by Alex Hutchinson

The Shortcut: Reactive Recovery

It's easy to take painkillers to block training-related aches, but this habit doesn't address the muscle weaknesses that may be causing your pain. Other recovery tools like compression garments and ice baths may have benefits, but they're still just short-term Band-Aids.

The Shortcut: Training Supplements

In theory, taking a multivitamin or a dietary supplement targeted at athletes as a form of “insurance” makes sense—after all, no one eats perfectly all the time. But there's scant evidence that these supplements actually boost health or performance, and some studies have found that large doses of antioxidant supplements like vitamin C can interfere with muscle recovery and endurance gains during training.

The Shortcut: Energy Boosters

There's no doubt that caffeine is an effective performance-enhancer, not to mention an essential part of day-to-day life for many runners. But there's a subtle distinction to bear in mind: Caffeine helps to mask the feeling of fatigue, but it doesn't actually make you any more rested.