By Elizabeth Stark
Everyone is more or less familiar with the primary benefits of coffee - it tastes good and helps you stay awake, but there's a fair amount of confusion about whether or not coffee is actually good for you. For example, you may have heard that coffee will stunt your growth, when in fact, your mom just didn't want to give you any of her coffee. Similarly you may have heard that coffee will dehydrate you, give you cancer, or stain your teeth. Only the last one is true; the other two aren't.
But just because something's not bad for you, that doesn't mean it's good for you either. So is that the case with coffee? Well, you're probably not going to be chastised by your doctor for not drinking enough coffee any time soon. But there's plenty of evidence that, when consumed in moderation (seriously, MODERATION), coffee can have a number of benefits you may not have known about.
1. Coffee can help keep you hydrated.
That's right, coffee doesn't dehydrate you; actually, it can be as hydrating as water. At least, that's what researchers at the University of Birmingham recently concluded. So after your next early-morning run, pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee.
2. Coffee may help your memory.
Subjects who took caffeine pills roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee had better memory recall the next day than subjects who did not, according to a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and UC-Irvine. Similarly, research performed in your own kitchen has revealed that you can't remember a damn thing before you've had a cup of coffee in the morning.
3. Coffee might contribute to liver health.
Odds are good that you may not treat your liver with the care it deserves. So when an opportunity to do something good for it comes along, you should take it. The good news is that according to researchers at Duke University, the caffeine in coffee may help prevent fatty liver disease that's not caused by alcohol (sorry). It may also reduce the chance of liver cancer, which is always a good thing.
4. Coffee is linked to a decreased risk of depression.
According to a paper presented to the American Academy of Neurology, coffee drinkers have a slightly lower risk of depression than non-drinkers. The cause? Antioxidants (probably). Of course, you could get way more antioxidants by eating fresh fruit and vegetables, but if you're not willing to go that far, you may as well pour yourself another cup.
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5. Coffee can help you get a better workout.
If you've ever had caffeine before playing a sport, one of your teammates has probably given you a hard time about it. Well, all the teammates out there can shut their big mouths, because according to recent research, athletes who consumed caffeine prior to working out took longer to become exhausted, completed more reps, and were more psychologically ready to go again. The only thing standing between you and the Olympics is probably that you don't drink enough coffee.