By Matt Evans published
We don't know about you, but sometimes we don't quite feel human until we've had our morning coffee. Whether popping by your favourite coffee shop on the way to work or filling a pot on a lazy Sunday, a morning cup o' joe perks us up and gets us ready for the day.
But did you know your humble morning coffee could be an unexpected ally in your attempts to hit your weight loss goals?
It's true! One study published in the scientific journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism looked at coffee's capacity to raise a person's metabolic rate – the rate in which your metabolism expends energy while at rest.
The study examined twelve healthy male volunteers and found consuming coffee with 200mg caffeine raised their metabolic rate for up to three hours after the coffee was consumed. In comparison, consuming decaf didn't have the same effect.
It makes sense: caffeine is a stimulant, increasing your perceived energy levels by speeding up your central nervous system. It's the same reason people get "jittery" after consuming too much coffee. While the caffeine is affecting your body, youre naturally burning more fat, even while at rest.
You don;t want to drink too much in order to avoid your love of coffee becoming a health risk: too much caffeine can place extra strain on your heart and increase feelings of anxiety.
For most people, two cups a day is fine. Not only will coffee boost your metabolism, but it will also shore up your liver, protecting against cirrhosis, according to researchers from the University of Southampton.
However, it's important to note coffee won't be doing you much good if it's a sugary coffee-shop concoction, as many large drinks from major chains contain upwards of 500 calories. Taking your coffee black, without sugar, is the best way to minimise your calorie intake while maximising the drink's weight loss benefits.
Coffee's not the only hot beverage with beneficial properties: one study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found people that drank four cups of green tea per day, for two months, saw a significant drop in body weight, their BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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