I can't function before my first cup of coffee. I've been sipping the dark stuff every day since I was 15 years old and picked up a more serious habit during my college years. While I've backed off those twice-a-day doppios (I know, I can't believe it either), I still enjoy a cup of strong black coffee every morning. For years, I toyed with the idea of giving up caffeine for good, but lucky for me, there's a ton of research out there supporting my java habit.
It eases muscle pain: Drinking coffee before a workout has been proven to prevent post-workout soreness. One University of Georgia study found that moderate doses of caffeine can reduce the pain by nearly 50 percent — and anyone who has dealt with DOMS knows that it is no laughing matter.
It improves your memory: There's promising research that the caffeine in coffee has a positive effect on memory and thought processes, specifically when it comes to Alzheimer's disease. Mice with the rodent equivalent of Alzheimer's disease who consumed caffeine-spiked drinking water experienced a reduction in the levels of a protein in the brain that is a key aspect of the disease.
It keeps you regular: Coffee may help you "go" for a few reasons. Drinking warm liquids gets things moving, and just the fact that it's a liquid helps as well, since staying hydrated is one way to prevent constipation. And coffee itself is a powerful stimulant that encourages muscle contractions in the digestive tract.
It fights against disease: The antioxidants in coffee have been shown to decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, and Parkinson's. These risks might not seem pressing right now, but your future self will thank you for doing whatever you can to prevent these health issues from happening.
It increases endurance: Running a race soon? You might consider sipping on a cup of joe before heading to the starting line. Studies have found that drinking a cup of coffee before can help increase your endurance.
With all that said, I hate to admit it, but coffee isn't a miracle beverage. Drinking too much can contribute to high blood pressure, sleep issues, headaches, and digestive problems. Just be sure to stick to 300 milligrams or less of caffeinated beverages a day to keep your java habit in check and your body in tip-top shape.