Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
First it was mushrooms, now coffee. I really want us all to run up some quick wins. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Last chance for New Year’s
Today is January 18. I think that makes it the last day that anyone is allowed to talk about resolutions for 2022.
I’m not big on timing changes to the calendar, as you may have noticed. Too often, it just seems like a set-up for failure. You make a big, sweeping declaration—but then, within a few weeks, you’ve stopped running that 5k every morning at 4 a.m. (goals).
Next thing you know, you’re nestling into your warm bed for a little extra sleep, feeling guilty about your “failure.”
I prefer little, attainable goals—improving my life by doing a little more of something I liked to begin with. Better to find something you can accomplish quickly, track easily, and that will provide both immediate and long-term advantages.
All of which leads us to coffee, and drinking more of it.
Why? Because study after study seems to suggest it has significant long-term health benefits. Among the highlights:
A 2018 study of 500,000 British adults over a full decade showed that coffee drinkers were 10-15% less likely to die from any cause than nondrinkers, possibly, according to the study authors, because "coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage."
In 2017, researchers funded by the American Heart Association and the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that every additional cup of coffee people drink each day drops their risk of heart failure or stroke by 8%.
A smaller study from Stanford University suggested that people who drink caffeinated coffee (but not decaf, sorry) live longer, perhaps because the caffeine counteracts naturally occurring inflammation, which is in turn associated with "90% of all noncommunicable diseases of aging," according to the study's author.
Another big study, from the Harvard School of Public Health, which followed 200,000 doctors and nurses over 30 years, found a correlation between increased coffee consumption and lower risk of death from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, neurological diseases—even suicide.
Finally, drinking "even more coffee" provides an incremental benefit over drinking "more coffee," up to a surprisingly high count, according to a study of almost 20,000 people over 10 years. ("Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people," said one of the study's authors.)
Truly, we could go on and on, but let's be sure to add one of the newest studies, which also suggests a short-term benefit many coffee drinkers might be familiar with: better moods.
A study of 5,000 European adults suggested that drinking a cup of coffee (containing about 75 milligrams of caffeine) every four hours can result in better moods during the day.
In our enthusiasm, we should add a caveat: Stop at five cups.
Once you get past that, according to a study of nearly 350,000 coffee drinkers from the University of South Australia, you might start to increase the risk of heart disease.
"Based on our data, six [cups] was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk," one of the researchers said.
As habits go, resolving to drink a bit more coffee probably isn't a heavy lift for a lot of people.
It's easy to add to your routine, doesn't cost a lot, and doesn't require making a major lifestyle change. Plus, for a lot of people, it's actually quite enjoyable.
Easy win: a good way to start the day, and the year.
2 quick sponsored items that make this all possible
Later this week, I plan to send you all a survey that will include a bunch of things, including how we can run better ads (and make the experience better). I’m grateful for the advertisers we’ve had so far. If you’d like to join them as a sponsor, just reply to this email and I’ll send you details. Thanks!
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7 other things worth knowing today
The multi-island nation of Tonga in the South Pacific, home to about 100,000 people, remained cut off from the outside world last night after last weekend’s underwater volcano eruption and tsunami. Undersea cables were cut off, and ash prevented flights from landing or even surveying damage. (CNN)
Live in the US? A Netflix price hike is coming your way. (The Verge)
How to earn $1 million from NFT pictures created in your bedroom. (Business Insider)
Remember the “Pharma Bro?” Former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli must return $64.6 million in profits made from jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug, a judge ruled. He’s also now barred from the pharmaceutical industry for life. He’s set to be released from prison (unrelated conviction) in November. (AP)
In Kenya, vigilantes are taking on gangs of avocado bandits as the fruit's price (yes, they’re technically a fruit; I had to look that up to be sure) keeps going up. (BBC)
It turns out some people actually LIKE looking at themselves in that little Zoom window. (Futurism)
Wearing VR headsets apparently helps cows make more milk on less feed. Yes, some people are calling it the Moo-trix. (IFL Science)