A new study shows that a compound found in your morning pick-me-up could help prevent obesity-related diseases.

By Abigail Wise
Updated November 11, 2014
How long did it take you to down your last cappuccino? Next time, take a cue from the Japanese, whose formal tea ceremony can last four hours. Before taking a drink, participants raise their bowls in tribute to all the factors that came together to create that moment—from their ancestors to the farmers who grew the tea to the elders who taught them how to prepare it. Try this amended routine: Focus on the drink in front of you. Notice the smell, and relish the flavor. You’ll find it’s a wonderful daily exercise in mindfulness.Jennifer Anderson, Ph.D., an expert on Japanese tea rituals, is a lecturer in anthropology at San José State University, in San Jose, California.
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As if we needed another reason to justify our addiction to coffee, new research shows that a compound commonly found in coffee might help fight some of the scary effects of obesity. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that chlorogenic acid (CGA), the coffee compound, lowered insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes, in mice. It also decreased the accumulation of fat in the livers of mice on a high-fat diet (fatty liver disease could eventually turn into cirrhosis​).

We already know that coffee has been linked to a host of health benefits. Regular consumption has been tied to lower rates of Parkinson's disease and liver disease, along with a reduction in skin cancer risk. Plus, a cup of joe might make you a better athlete, and even decaf coffee has been associated with liver benefits. Drinking coffee could also help prevent the common hearing condition tinnitus, which causes ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears​.

This new research points to the specific compound that could help prevent obesity-related diseases. "Our study expands on this research by looking at the benefits associated with this specific compound, which is found in great abundance in coffee, but also in other fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, tomatoes and blueberries,"​ Yongjie Ma, lead author on the paper, said in a statement.

But even if you happily brew a morning cup (or three) on a daily basis, it's important to note that coffee consumption isn't a replacement for a well-balanced diet and exercise. "We're not suggesting that people start drinking a lot of coffee to protect themselves from an unhealthy lifestyle," Ma said.

So you still need to hit the gym and eat your fruits and veggies, but go ahead and savor that morning brew, too.