Chances are, you can’t start your day without a cup of joe—then maybe you fuel up again with a latte or iced coffee (and later, a post-dinner espresso, anyone?). But how much do you really know about this beverage that is enjoyed by a billion people worldwide? (Fun fact: It's considered to be the most valuable global commodity after oil!) But from the surprising way coffee cranks your brain and body to fascinating facts about its origins, there's still a lot you could be in the dark about. That's why we rounded up 11 fun facts to celebrate our favorite a.m. friend. Enjoy—preferably while sipping your Starbucks.
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1. Two cups a day can extend your life. Researchers aren’t sure why, but people who drank this amount or more daily lived longer and were less likely to die of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease as were coffee abstainers, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine.
2. It gives your memory a kick. The caffeine in a cup or two of java doesn't just perk you up in the moment—it enhances your memory up to 24 hours after you drink it. This provides an assist when it comes to forming new memories, reports a Nature study.
3. It reduces pain. A Norwegian study found that office workers who took a coffee break felt less neck and shoulder pain during the workday. (That's your excuse to get up and move!)
4. It keeps your brain sharp over time. Make a mental note of this: 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day can help prevent the cognitive decline associated with aging, leading to a 65 percent decrease in developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, according to a recent study.
5. There’s a cold brew boom. Practically unheard of a generation ago, iced coffee and cold coffee drinks now make up almost 25 percent of all coffee store menu items.
6. Billions of cups are sipped a day. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day. That’s equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. U-S-A!
7. You can reuse the grounds. Only 20 percent of the coffee you pour into your coffee maker gets used, leaving the rest of the grounds destined for the trash can. But they have tons of reuse potential! A few ideas: Leave a batch in your fridge as a deodorizer, or rub a fistful between your hands as a natural skin exfoliant.
8. Coffee obsession is taking over. How much do we live the stuff? Consider the results of a new survey: 55 percent of coffee drinkers would rather gain 10 pounds than give up coffee for life, while 52 percent would prefer going without a shower in the morning than abstain. And 49 percent of coffee fans would give up their cell phone for a month rather than go without the stuff.
9. Most coffee is made and consumed at home. But when we do go out for a cup, we’re most likely to head for the nearest Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts. These three chains are tops for national coffee sales.
10. It may have been the first energy food. Legend has it that coffee was discovered in Ethiopia centuries ago; locals at the time supposedly scored an energy boost from a ball of animal fat infused with coffee.
11. It can power your workout. If you hit the gym in the a.m., dosing up on coffee can help you take advantage of the caffeine jolt.