In the wonderful ending from Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” he lists certain things that make life worth living: Groucho Marx, the second movement of the Juniper Symphony, Marlon Brando. For me, the smell of morning coffee that my boyfriend makes first thing has to be on that list. Ah. There is now more good news on the positive effects of coffee on health, and the once held belief that coffee dehydrates isn’t so.
It turns out your morning Joe not only gets you going and boosts alertness, but is as hydrating as water. That’s good news for those 1.6 billion cups of coffee enjoyed worldwide on any given day.
In a new study from the University of Birmingham in the UK , participants drank about three and one-third cups of coffee per day for three days in a row. Then they drank the same amount of water for three consecutive days. Controlling for physical activity and food and fluid intake, the researchers compared a wide range of markers (total body water, body mass measurements, kidney function, urine volume, and blood values) and found no significant difference in the subjects’ hydration status when they were drinking coffee versus water.
Although the study sample is small (50 adult men who were habitual coffee-drinkers), its findings echo similar previously collected data regarding the relationship between moderate caffeine consumption and hydration.
It’s important to stay hydrated and drink fluids throughout the day, and water is still a good first choice. After all, water is essential for life, as it transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, helps preserve cardiovascular function and aids with weight management.
A typical adult needs anywhere from 11 cups of water per day for females to 16 cups for males, according to The Institute of Medicine Water Intake Recommendation. Diet, ( i.e. that bunch of grapes, or apple, full of water) physical activity level, age and environmental conditions (such as humidity) all effect proper hydration levels. For example, colder days impact urine output, and more intense activity increases water loss.
However, during these cold months, remember not to go overboard on the hot chocolate, cream, and mocha’s just yet. It is the coffee itself, not just the caffeine, that is so unique.
Coffee contains hundreds of different chemical compounds. The Coffea plant’s roasted berries, ( they’re not actually beans), has a very strong antioxidant capacity, more so than blueberries or broccoli. It’s benefits are many, including a positive impact on memory, recently published in Nature Neuroscience. Coffee drinkers compared to non-coffee drinkers are also protected from dementia and Parkinson’s as they age, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers and stroke.
While having lots of coffee isn’t recommended for everyone, for some of us, it’s a great way to start a perfect day.