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This weekend we were asked to serve our coffee down at Leeds Dock Market, which is run by Leeds based events company, Chilled Events. The market is set to run monthly, with each one having a different theme. The December market took on a Christmas theme and therefore it was pretty obvious what to expect from the January one! It was to be a Health and Fitness market which was to coincide with the opening of the new Primal Gym down at Leeds Dock. We were trading alongside other local independent businesses such as Naked Ape, which is a snack made from biltong, dried fruits, nuts and seeds – that’s it, nothing more nothing less. Their words, not mine. To be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted anything more; it’s a delicious snack to be enjoyed as part of a well-structured eating plan. Across from us was a new company known as Leeds Juicery, who have only been trading for just over two weeks. With the quality of the product and their brand you wouldn’t have been able to tell, it was everything you would want from a healthy juice; clean, intriguing and damn tasty too! You’ll be sure to see these guys all over Leeds within the next couple of months! I also picked up a fantastic veg box from Neil’s which should keep me going for a while.

So, you may be wondering what we were doing at a Health and Fitness market, how does coffee fall into this category, especially when we were using full fat milk. Even though the milk based drinks are not as healthy as drinking coffee black, there are a lot of benefits that come from drinking coffee. We all know that coffee contains plenty of caffeine to relieve us from tiredness, but there are also many other benefits that you may not have realised.

I won’t bore you by going on and on and on and on and on about them, but next time you have a cup of coffee, think about the benefits it could be having on you.

Firstly, coffee contains a load of antioxidants. In fact, it contains more antioxidants than green tea – which might come as a bit of a shock to a lot of people! Although we don’t know exactly how antioxidants help prevent disease, we do know that they protect cells in the body so a diet with a high intake of coffee and other fruit and vegetables will definitely be beneficial for you!

Coffee can also increase physical performance and help to burn fat much quicker. We all know that coffee contains a stimulant called caffeine, which can found in pretty much every fat burning supplement. Caffeine can also enhance your metabolic rate and thus increase the chance of burning fat. Unfortunately I couldn’t test this on myself, but I could test to see if it helped to improve my physical performance, so I did.

I had a week’s rest from the gym to allow my body to recover; I ate well and waited until Monday morning before I carried out the first part of the test. I decided that I would do a workout that consisted of 100 repetitions and I would record how long it took me. I would then see how many repetitions I could do in the same time it took me to do 100 repetitions, but before I trained I had a cup of our El Salvador Finca Bosque Lya brewed with 24g of coffee and 300g of filtered water.

The results were exactly what I was expecting. I managed to do 109 reps in the same amount of time that I had done 100 repetitions in the previous week, showing that I had an increase in physical performance by 9%. This test was just something I wanted to do to see if it had the effect that i was hoping for. Of course there are many other variables that could have affected the workout, but I certainly felt a difference and I would urge you to give it a go yourself and see if you come out with similar results.

I enjoy the gym and eating well, so these facts are ones that interest me and I’m sure over time I will do more tests on myself to see if caffeine continuously has the same effect on me, which I’m sure won’t be the case with the amount I drink!

There are also many other benefits that coffee has; such as the fact that it may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, liver cirrhosis, depression and it could also help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Coffee also contains a product called cafestrol which can increase cholestrol, so if you want to drink filter coffee then I would always recommend choosing a paper filter method such as the Kalita wave, Hario v60 or a Chemex. The paper filters out a large percentage of the cafestrol and therefore these methods are much more beneficial than say a French press. They also produce a much tastier brew!

Coffee clearly has lots of beneficial attributes and I hope some of you found this relatively interesting. Our advice to you would be to drink your coffee black and with no sugar to increase the health benefits you are receiving from your coffee!

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