What we consume can affect our bodies in a wide variety of ways, and drinking black coffee benefits us in surprising ways. But what are the benefits of black coffee? And how can you make the most of them?
To answer those questions (and many others), OriGym have compiled a comprehensive guide to the myriad benefits of drinking black coffee, while touching on specialist areas such as how black coffee benefits our digestive system.
Whether you’re seeking out the benefits of black coffee for your skin, or considering making use of the benefits of black coffee in your bodybuilding routine, our thorough report covers everything you’ll need to know.
- What Is Black Coffee?
- 15 Health Benefits of Black Coffee
- Black Coffee Nutritional Benefits & Profile
- What Are The Side Effects of Drinking Black Coffee?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Our Conclusions
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What Is Black Coffee?
While this may seem like a basic question, especially given that we’re specifically examining black coffee benefits, it’s vital that we fully define what we’re talking about so you can take full advantage.
Coffee is a diverse drink - it’s most commonly enjoyed mixed with milk or a milk alternative (oat or almond milk, for instance), or mixed as a flavouring with other products, creating decadent treats like healthy ice creams or tiramisu.
However, the majority of its benefits are most concentrated when we consume it black. Black coffee is simply coffee mixed with boiling water, with no additional flavourings or mixers.
Characterised by its bitter taste and strong aroma, black coffee benefits us in ways that are often unexpected, but that can really revolutionise the way we view coffee, and how we incorporate it into our diets.
Let’s examine some of those black coffee health benefits in more detail.
15 Health Benefits of Black Coffee
#1 - Increases Energy Levels
One of the most commonly discussed health benefits of black coffee is the energy it provides us with, and how that can help with day-to-day tasks.
In coffee, the main active ingredient is caffeine. You may already be familiar with caffeine - it’s often found in other products that are designed to boost your energy levels, such as sports drinks and cola.
Caffeine works by blocking a neurotransmitter in our brain called adenosine, which is what makes us feel tired or lethargic as the day goes on. It also allows our brain to release more of the chemicals we associate with having good energy levels, such as dopamine.
In black coffee, these caffeine levels are concentrated, and because of the lack of other ingredients, it’s able to enter the bloodstream much quicker than it would otherwise be able to, therefore making for a much quicker blocking of adenosine, and subsequent release of dopamine.
This speedy absorption is what makes this one of the main health benefits of drinking black coffee - you’re able to quickly access the levels of energy you need, and continue on with what you want to achieve.
We’d suggest combining black coffee with energy-boosting foods - OriGym have compiled a full report on the best foods for energy, and how you can incorporate them into your diet.
#2 - Boosts Performance
As we’ve just examined, one of the main health benefits of black coffee is the additional levels of energy it provides us through it’s high caffeine content.
This boosted caffeine level not only provides that additional energy, but it can also be incredibly beneficial when it comes to athletic and sporting performance, outranking even some of the best natural energy drinks.
These additional energy levels from caffeine also provide a significant boost to your levels of physical performance, especially during intense activity. In fact, a recent study uncovered that caffeine (and in particular the fast-acting caffeine found in black coffee) has a dramatic effect on endurance and continued high-level performance.
The speedy availability of the caffeine that black coffee provides is arguably one of the biggest health benefits of drinking black coffee, especially before any activity where you’ll need to fully concentrate, and use as much energy as you can.
#3 - Burns Fat
Perhaps one of the most surprising black coffee benefits for weight loss is its ability to actively aid in burning fat, as well as providing the energy to keep going with your exercise routines.
Let us explain.
In addition to its energy content, the caffeine in black coffee benefits us by actively speeding up the metabolism, burning fat at a much quicker rate than it otherwise would have. In fact, in many diet supplements, caffeine acts as the main catalyst for speeding up weight loss results.
Caffeine is, in fact, one of the best natural ways to achieve fat burn. Whether it’s ingested as part of the benefits of black coffee for weight loss, or through other sources such as pre-workout supplements, caffeine plays a pivotal role in boosting the metabolism, and burning fat.
Drinking a cup of black coffee each morning can seriously help speed up your metabolism and fat burning throughout, which is arguably one of the biggest health benefits of drinking black coffee, particularly ahead of a busy day.
#4 - Helps Regulate Mood
We all have days where our mood dips, and we aren’t as sociable as we normally would be. One of the more subtle mental health benefits of black coffee is that it can help to boost your mood, and even combat signs of depression.
As we’ve already established, one of the main black coffee benefits is that it contains a healthy dosage of bioavailable caffeine, meaning that the body can absorb it quickly, and put it to immediate use.
This caffeine has long been associated with improving mood, and fighting off the signs of more severe mood disorders, such as depression. A recent research review confirmed these ideas, finding that coffee (and black coffee in particular) were indisputably linked to improved mood.
This is often why it’s a good idea to enjoy the benefits of drinking black coffee in the morning, as it can often provide you with a more positive mindset for the day ahead, as well as the boost of energy we’ve already looked at.
Exercise often goes hand-in-hand with an improved mood, too - explore more in our comprehensive guide to the mental health benefits of running.
#5 - Helps With Focus
When you’ve got a long day or difficult workout ahead of you, it can be difficult to maintain your focus. Next on our list of black coffee benefits is that it can actually help you concentrate on the task at hand.
We’ve already explored how caffeine can aid in performance, but part of this also relates to how you are able to focus on what you need to do, and how your brain can direct your attention exactly where it needs to be.
Caffeine (especially when consumed in tandem with the other benefits of black coffee) aids in focus on both simplistic tasks (like typing an email), and more complex things (like driving a car).
It can also improve your focus across difficult exercises, too - check out our guide to cross training to see how you can incorporate multiple workouts into one, and really reap the benefits of black coffee for bodybuilding and strength training.
This increased focus and huge boost of energy are arguably two of the most important health benefits of black coffee, and can often combine to ensure you’re working at your best throughout the day.
#6 - Reduces Risk Of Liver Cancer
It’s estimated that at least one in three of us will be directly affected by cancer in our lifetime. It’s a good idea to use black coffee to mitigate against this, as one of the biggest black coffee benefits is that it can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Primarily, black coffee will significantly reduce the risk of contracting liver cancer, according to recent research. However, further study has discovered potential links between black coffee consumption and reduced risks of endometrial cancer, although there’s inconclusive evidence for this to be considered factual.
However, until recently, many assumed that coffee was associated with increased risks of cancers of all kinds, which has now been completely disproven, with a wide range of sources confirming that coffee does not contribute towards our cancer risk.
Therefore, our recommendation to fully take advantage of the benefits of black coffee would be to enjoy it when you normally would, but potentially limit your intake. We’d also suggest having it with foods that strengthen your immune system - read more in OriGym’s complete guide to the best immunity boosting foods.
#7 - Provides A Huge Dose Of Antioxidants
You may already be aware of antioxidants and their benefits, but one of the more surprising black coffee health benefits is that it’s among the best antioxidant foods.
Antioxidants are molecules that we receive from our foods that inhibit dangerous “free radicals” (cells that are naturally produced in the body which can cause severe harm), and ensure that they benefit the body, rather than cause harm.
These are absolutely vital for our bodies, and although we do produce them in small quantities, we get the majority of them from our foods. One of the main black coffee benefits is that it provides a quick and easy way to gain a huge boost to your antioxidant levels.
This would be fantastic even on its own, but given the range of benefits of black coffee comes with, you’ll also be getting a whole range of advantages as well as a boost to your antioxidant levels.
#8 - Reduces Risk Of Diabetes
Diabetes can often be a frustrating and even dangerous part of daily life for those who suffer from it, but one of the main health benefits of black coffee is that it helps mitigate against your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
When we consume black coffee, it lowers our sensitivity to insulin, and therefore means that we can more effectively regulate our blood sugar levels. In diabetics, this isn’t present, and sufferers cannot properly self-control their blood sugar levels, resulting in a range of complications and risks.
According to the latest research, coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing diabetes as a direct result of the compounds found in coffee, but in particular in the more bioavailable black coffee.
This is potentially one of the most life-changing health benefits of black coffee, in that it can significantly affect your chances of suffering from a life-altering illness such as diabetes.
Enjoying one or two cups throughout the day, as well as a balanced diet that incorporates metabolism boosting foods, is enough to drastically decrease your risks of developing diabetes at any point during your life, which is arguably one of the biggest benefits of drinking black coffee.
#9 - Aids With Weight Loss
While we’ve already talked about how coffee’s active ingredient burns fat and boosts the metabolism, black coffee can actually help us to lose weight in more subtle ways, too.
In our previous section, we touched upon how one of the black coffee benefits for weight loss is that it reduces or even removes our risk of developing diabetes. This also comes with the secondary benefit of regulating our blood sugar levels, and suppressing our cravings for sweet stuff.
This reduced appetite comes from coffee’s satiating compounds, which make us feel fuller for longer, and therefore less likely to reach for foods that aren’t as healthy. It’s still a good idea to snack when you’re peckish, though - explore OriGym’s selection of the best paleo snacks for some of the healthiest options.
Without the cravings we might expect to have, we’re more likely to wait until mealtimes to eat, and therefore be less likely to indulge outside of those times.
It’s often recommended as part of more strict diets because of this reason, and when combined with healthy choices, black coffee can work exceptionally well to create a sustainable weight loss regime.
#10 - Minimises Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that’s often characterised by shaking or tremors, and is caused by the gradual breakdown and loss of cells in a certain part of the brain. One of the more understated benefits of drinking black coffee is that it can mitigate against your risks of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The active compounds in coffee provide protection against Parkinson’s, despite the fact that the root cause of the illness is still uncertain. Coffee, and in particular the bioavailable black coffee, provides protection against the disease, even with drinking just one cup per day.
The science supports this, too, finding that participants in a comprehensive study had a much lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, even when they had a family history of the condition.
While you might already include a cup of coffee in your morning routine, learning how black coffee benefits us in ways that we may never even realise is crucial to understanding why it’s such an integral part of starting our day.
#11 - Lessens Your Risk Of Cardiovascular Issues
Next on our list of the health benefits of drinking coffee black is its link to a decreased risk of having cardiovascular complications, such as stroke and heart failure.
Our heart is arguably one of our most important organs alongside our brain and lungs, and while we can find plenty of foods good for lung health, and take time to relax and destress to ease tension and headaches, it’s crucial that we look after our heart, too.
That’s where drinking black coffee benefits us in another unseen but incredibly important way - consuming black coffee regularly has been shown to reduce the chances of stroke, heart failure, and a variety of other cardiovascular issues.
A recent research review found a distinct connection between those who drink coffee regularly, and a decreased risk of stroke, as well as heart failure and hypertension (very high blood pressure).
This connection forms the basis of one of the more life-changing health benefits of black coffee, and one that we can take advantage of by simply having a cup with breakfast, or throughout the day.
#12 - Boosts Your Liver Health
While we’ve already examined how black coffee benefits us by reducing our risk of developing liver cancer, it also has a wide range of other benefits for the liver.
As you might already be aware, hot drinks such as tea and coffee (particularly black coffee) can act as a diuretic, meaning you urinate more frequently, which can cleanse your liver and kidneys of harmful chemicals and compounds that we receive from other foods and drinks.
We’d also suggest using green tea as an alternative beverage - learn more in our thorough exploration of green tea and its benefits.
Not only that, but black coffee benefits the liver even further by drastically reducing your risk of cirrhosis, which is irreversible and severe damage caused to the liver by bad habits such as smoking and heavy drinking.
Black coffee also positively affects enzymes and compounds in the liver, meaning it can continue to function effectively and efficiently, as well as offering mitigation against liver diseases.
This vast array of black coffee benefits for the liver will not only go a long way towards protecting one of your vital organs, it also means the rest of your organs can function as efficiently as possible.
#13 - Promotes Good Digestive Health
Perhaps one of the most well-publicised health benefits of drinking coffee black is its positive effects on our digestive health, and our bowel movements.
Many of us will often drink coffee as part of our daily routine, whether that’s a cup with breakfast in the morning, or throughout the working day, and by doing so, we’re helping to promote good digestion of our food, as well as disposal of our body’s waste products.
The caffeine we find in our coffee has been proven to activate the muscles in our colon, resulting in better digestive habits, as well as promoting more regular bowel movements, which in turn can ease issues like constipation and stomach aches.
Coffee can also stimulate certain hormones in the digestive system, which also prompt more consistent bowel movements across the course of the day, and therefore mean that we properly and effectively dispose of the waste products our body creates.
These wide-reaching digestive benefits of black coffee (without sugar) can often form part of your day-to-day life, ensuring you continue to feel these black coffee benefits regularly and can develop better digestive habits, such as eating fibre-dense foods, or incorporating some of the best superfruits into your meal plans.
#14 - Helps With Skincare
You may be surprised to hear this, but next on our list of black coffee benefits is its profound effects on our skin and complexion.
In many modern skincare products, there’s often an active ingredient that’s shared with coffee - caffeine. It’s used as a stimulant for the skin (similar to how black coffee benefits us by providing us with energy), and possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are beneficial for the skin.
By consuming it in moderation, coffee can provide that stimulation, and keep our skin looking vibrant and youthful. However, one of the key things to stress here is the concept of moderation.
Moderation is crucial across all aspects of life, including exercise - read more about managing your fitness regime properly in OriGym’s comprehensive report on the importance of rest days.
Drinking a more substantial amount of coffee (more than 4 cups) per day can have the inverse effect, meaning you may dry out your skin, and cause spots or dryness to develop.
It’s important to drink your coffee black, too - you’ll get the most from these benefits of black coffee without sugar or milk mixed in, as impurities in these coffee additions can make skin problems worse, or have a detrimental effect on your complexion.
#15 - Keeps Your Mouth Healthy
The final entry on our list of black coffee benefits is its effect on our oral hygiene, and the antibacterial properties it can bring to our mouths.
It’s been found that caffeine (the active ingredient in coffee) is incredibly effective at fighting bacteria, and reducing the levels of harmful bacteria that we have in our mouths.
However, these black coffee benefits for oral health do come with a significant caveat - they are much more effective when consumed without milk or sugar. One of the key benefits of black coffee without sugar is that it ensures that the antibacterial properties that caffeine possesses can be used effectively where it’s needed most.
Not only does coffee possess antibacterial properties, recent studies point towards a definitive link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of oral cancers.
These black coffee health benefits are often overlooked, especially with coffee’s reputation as a drink that can have adverse effects, but it’s important to address any misconceptions, and understand how drinking black coffee benefits many aspects of our bodies.
We’ve compiled 3 more articles related to this one:
Black Coffee Nutritional Benefits & Profile
Now that we’ve answered the age-old question of “what are the benefits of drinking black coffee?”, and examined in great depth how drinking black coffee benefits us in a vast range of ways, it’s important to focus on what makes up a good cup of black coffee
Let’s also look at how these nutritional factors come together to create the multitude of benefits of black coffee that we’ve just examined.
We’ve outlined an average cup of black coffee and its nutritional benefits below, as well as highlighted exactly what nutritional components you’ll receive from it:
- Calories: 2 calories
- Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Sodium: 4.7mg
- Protein: 0g
- Potassium: 116mg
- Caffeine: 95mg
Coffee’s incredibly low calorie content means that it’s a great idea to take advantage of the black coffee benefits for your weight loss journey, as well as for disease prevention and overall good health.
One key point to note here, though, is that the recommended daily intake of caffeine for an adult is approximately 400mg, which means you should aim to consume no more than 4 cups of coffee per day.
It’s a good idea to track your intake in a dedicated fitness journal, or on a smartphone app, to ensure you don’t go over your recommended amount, especially as too much caffeine can have detrimental effects.
What Are The Side Effects of Drinking Black Coffee?
While we’ve explored a wide variety of the health benefits of drinking coffee black, it’s vitally important to look at black coffee benefits and side effects side-by-side. Below, we’ve outlined some of the main side effects of drinking black coffee.
#1 - Can Affect Your Sleeping
As we’ve previously covered in our section on black coffee benefits, caffeine is the active ingredient in black coffee, and one of its main purposes is to provide energy, and motivate us to do the things we need to do.
However, this abundance of energy can be detrimental, especially if we consume black coffee later in the evening, or before we need to relax and get ready for sleep. When caffeine reaches our brain, it blocks the production of adenosine, which is the chemical compound that makes us feel tired.
This lack of adenosine means we don’t feel the same levels of tiredness after we’ve consumed caffeine, and therefore don’t feel ready to sleep. Of course, this is easily remedied by limiting your caffeine intake, and ensuring you don’t drink any caffeinated beverages (such as black coffee) shortly before sleeping.
We would also strongly recommend not drinking more than 4 cups per day, as continually drinking too much coffee can affect your sleeping pattern, and even lead to sleep issues like insomnia.
It can also be a good idea to undertake some form of mindfulness practice to alleviate stresses that can impact your sleep schedule - find one that works for you in OriGym’s exploration of the different types of yoga styles.
#2 - Can Create Feelings Of Anxiety
While caffeine provides us with the energy to complete the tasks we need to, one of the main black coffee side effects is that this energy can’t always be put to good use, which can cause issues with anxiety, stress, and shaky movements often called “jitters”.
When we drink too much black coffee, our body will start to release stress hormones known as cortisol, which leads to a sharp increase in feelings of anxiety and stress. This can also cause what we’d commonly refer to as being jittery, where we have excess energy that we are unsure of how to deploy.
It’s easy to avoid these black coffee side effects - we simply need to monitor our caffeine intake, and aim to drink less than the maximum of 4 cups per day. It’s a good idea to replace it with another beverage - we’d suggest water or, if you’re looking for something more flavourful, one of the best electrolyte drinks.
Prolonged excessive caffeine consumption can not only lead to increased feelings of anxiety and stress, but the cortisol that’s released can lead to increased blood pressure, and strain on the heart and brain.
#3 - Can Cause Stomach Cramps
Black coffee is, as we’ve already mentioned, high in caffeine - that’s the reason behind many of the black coffee benefits we’ve just looked at. However, this caffeine content is also coupled with a high level of acidity, which can lead to abdominal cramps and stomach issues.
When acid builds up in the stomach (either through excessive caffeine intake or otherwise), it can cause a range of issues, including nausea, stomach aches, bloating and diarrhoea, all of which can have wide reaching impact.
Coffee, especially when you have more than 4 cups per day, can be a huge contributing factor to your levels of stomach acidity, and as such can leave you open to experiencing some of these more serious black coffee side effects.
As with most other side effects of drinking black coffee, the way to combat it is simple - limit yourself to an amount of coffee that you feel comfortable with, and experiment to find what works best for you and your body.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Prepare Black Coffee?
Black coffee is simply a cup of coffee made without the use of any additional ingredients, such as milk, sugar, sweeteners, or syrups. But, as you might expect, there are multiple different ways you can make a cup of black coffee, and much of it comes down to your personal preference.
Many people will choose convenience, and opt for an instant black coffee, using store-bought granules or powder, and boiling water. This is an excellent option if you’re in a rush, and is often inexpensive and easy to source, meaning you don’t have to worry about how to take advantage of the black coffee benefits we’ve looked at.
However, if you’re looking for more of a bespoke coffee, you can opt to purchase a coffee grinder and machine, meaning you get the freshest possible cup, and are guaranteed a cup that doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives. This is obviously much more time consuming, though.
Coffee in any form is a great way to experience the benefits of black coffee, and it’s ultimately your own personal decision that shapes what you decide to do to receive those black coffee benefits.
Is Black Coffee Good For Weight Loss?
Of course! Many of the advantages we’ve just looked at often form some of the key benefits of black coffee for weight loss.
For instance, as we previously examined, black coffee can function as an appetite suppressant, ensuring you feel “satiated” (or fuller) for longer periods of time due to its significant role in helping to regulate blood sugar levels, and prevent the development of diabetes.
This blood sugar control also feeds into the idea that you therefore won’t crave sweet things, which are often associated with being high in calories or fats. If you do still crave something sweet, though, natural alternatives like fruits, nuts, and healthy cereal bars can satisfy that sweet tooth.
Not only this, but caffeine has long since been proven to actively burn fat, and boost the metabolism so that we burn fat in a natural and sustainable way. This is often why, after a large meal, you’ll be offered a cup of coffee, as it aids in the digestion and processing of the food you’ve just eaten.
It’s hugely important to take advantage of the vast array of black coffee benefits for you weight loss journey, especially as it’s likely a beverage that’s already part of your diet, and it’s an important change that’s easy to implement.
How Much Black Coffee Should I Have?
This is, unfortunately, one question that doesn’t have a singular answer, especially as everyone is different. First and foremost, though, it is strongly advised that you do not exceed more than 4 cups of black coffee in a single day.
An average cup of black coffee will contain between 95mg and 100mg, and with a recommended daily intake (RDI) of 400mg of caffeine, 4 cups is the limit before you begin to exceed your RDI, and start to see some of the black coffee side effects we’ve just discussed.
After that, though, this is entirely down to your discretion, and your own personal habits. For many, a cup of coffee with breakfast, and then one at some point during the working day, is normal, and you’d simply need to replace any coffees with milk or sugar with a black coffee.
If you’re looking to start coffee for the first time, though, we’d suggest starting off small, especially as such a concentrated dose of caffeine can be overwhelming at first.
Having one cup in the morning with a hearty breakfast - check out OriGym’s comprehensive guide to the health benefits of eating eggs for breakfast inspiration - can ensure you get all the black coffee benefits without any of the side effects of black coffee.
Before You Go!
Whether you're a coffee connoisseur, or are just enjoying the occasional cup of instant brew before a tough day, our exploration of black coffee benefits (and side effects) aimed to explain everything you need to know about one of the most consumed beverages across the world.
The black coffee benefits and side effects all contribute towards how much you should include in your diet, and how well it can work for you. But if you’ve already mastered your own dietary habits, then perhaps it’s time to take that passion further.
OriGym’s industry leading sports nutrition course offers unmatched levels of guidance from an expert team 7-days-a-week, a constantly expanding library of resources, free examination resits, and all for the lowest price amongst our competitors.
Explore more in our FREE comprehensive prospectus, or call us today to discuss the range of options available to you!
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