Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Is Drinking Coffee the New Exercise?

Is drinking coffee the new exercise? Maybe not, but it has similar effects at the DNA level—at least in terms of its effect on muscle. An article published in Cell Metabolism has shown that caffeine changes DNA via tiny, incremental “epigenetic” modifications. In other words, coffee causes chemical changes in the body that changes DNA expression.

Most people who drink coffee before they exercise do so not because they are hoping to change their DNA, and enhance muscular contractions, but because it energizes their workout. But now that those benefits have been uncovered, a cup of pre-workout coffee offers the tantalizing promise of perfect workout synergy.

According to James Coughlin, MD, coffee enhances the experience of exercise. He says, “Coffee enhances nervous system function, thereby increasing alertness, vigilance, and arousal, and reducing fatigue. Caffeine improves cognitive performance, increases the body’s capacity for muscular work and exercise, and increases the need to urinate and blood flow in the kidneys. Caffeine increases coronary blood flow, as well as the force of cardiac and skeletal muscle contraction. It relaxes smooth muscle, especially bronchial muscle, and even produces a slightly higher metabolic rate.” He also claimed that coffee can help patients with chronic angina walk pain-free and that adults who drink coffee have approximately a 25% lower incidence of asthma compared with non-coffee-drinkers.”

Exercise, as we all know, is good for you---and exercise + coffee is great for you! So the next time you work out, grab a cup of coffee---before and after---for a metabolic boost and more!