(Natural News) Coffee is arguably one of the world’s most popular beverages. It comes in different kinds – espresso, cappuccino, mochaccino – but the newest trend in mixed coffee introduces an uncommon ingredient: coconut oil.
Individually, coffee and coconut oil have their own nutritional benefits, but the potential effects of drinking a mixed brew remain unclear. To understand better, it is time to take a closer look at these two superfoods.
Health benefits of coffee
According to Reuters, around 64 percent of American adults drink coffee every day. Coffee has numerous health benefits to back up its popularity. Here are some of the advantages of drinking coffee:
1. Boosts energy levels
Coffee contains caffeine, a natural stimulant. Caffeine enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain, where it blocks adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts as a depressant. Once adenosine is blocked, levels of energy-boosting neurotransmitters increase. This leads to people feeling more energized.
2. Protects the liver
The liver performs many important functions in the body, including the breakdown of compounds for energy. Common diseases such as hepatitis and hemochromatosis largely affect the liver, leading to a more severe condition called cirrhosis (scarring). Studies have shown an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and liver cirrhosis. From their findings, it has been suggested that coffee may contain an ingredient that protects the liver.
3. Contains antioxidants
Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. It contains hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols — both aid in fighting free radicals and reducing the damage from oxidative stress. This leads to a decreased risk for many ailments, including Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
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Health benefits of coconut oil
Coconut oil is an ingredient present across a wide array of products. Aside from being used for skin and oral health, coconut oil contributes to a person’s overall well-being with the following benefits:
1. Lowers cholesterol
Coconut oil is filled with saturated fats, including lauric, capric, and myristic acids. These fats help in increasing levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, which prevents the buildup of fatty tissue around the heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Aids in weight loss
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Compared to other fats, MCTs are easily absorbed in the bloodstream and transported to the liver. There, they are broken down for energy, ready for the body to use. Because they are easily broken down, they neither get added to fat cells, nor contribute to weight gain. (Related: Coconut Oil Can Promote Weight Loss by Increasing Metabolism Naturally.)
3. Supports brain function
Aside from glucose, the MCTs in coconut oil serve as another fuel source for the brain. The brain needs a constant stream of energy from blood glucose. When blood sugar levels are low, the liver breaks down body fat, producing ketones. These ketones travel quickly to the brain in order to provide energy. MCTs help raise the level of ketones in the body.
What are the benefits of mixing the two?
To reap the benefits from both of these superfoods, try adding some coconut oil to your morning coffee. Below are some of the benefits of creating this mixed brew:
1. Helps regulate blood sugar
Studies have shown that drinking coffee is linked to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. This may indicate better insulin sensitivity or blood sugar control. On the other hand, coconut oil does not need insulin for it to be digested. Even after consuming coconut oil, there is no spike in blood sugar level.
2. Supports the immune system
An article from the Journal of Nutrition states that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants today – more than fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in coffee help the immune system by keeping free radicals at bay. Coconut oil improves immunity and wards off infection through the presence of lauric acids. Lauric acid (which comprises about 50 percent of coconut oil) has antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.
3. Preserves bone health
There are rumors that coffee consumption negatively affects bone health, but studies have debunked them. Any effect that coffee has on calcium levels can be offset by one to two tablespoons of milk. Meanwhile, coconut oil helps the body absorb calcium. Studies have found that the effects of osteoporosis can be improved through consuming coconut oil regularly.
Mixing coconut oil to your daily cup of joe may be one of the easiest ways to reap their benefits. Like with everything else, make sure to drink in moderation in order to maximize its effects.