Before a match?
The caffeine content of coffee will power you up ahead of kick-off, but be careful not to overdose. “The optimum amount is around 3mg of caffeine per kg of body weight,” explains Mayur Ranchordas, sports nutritionist at Sheffield Hallam University. A double espresso is enough for an average male.
But this time add three or four Jaffa cakes too. Research carried out by Ranchordas and flagged up in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that the right combination of coffee and carbohydrates boosted not only your energy levels but also helped players maintain focus too – making it ideal for the interval.
Protect against a cold?
The ‘polyphenols’ found in tea work wonders for the body’s defences. Statistics from the US National Academy of Sciences show that an element called L-theanine helped red blood cells in tea drinkers respond five times faster to germs than coffee drinkers.
Shed the pounds?
So long as you’re not thinking of a Starbucks honey and syrup frappuccino with a sugar-coated almond croissant on the side, that is. Straight, black and sugar-free coffee will ignite the metabolism, stimulate the nervous system and help burn some of that body fat, to boot.
“After exercise you want to rehydrate and restore carb and fluid losses,” says Ranchordas. Add coffee to the mix and you could recover quicker too. Research has found that athletes who ingested caffeine with carbohydrate had 66 per cent more glycogen – the fuel for your muscles – four hours after intense exercise.
More after the break
Coffee 4 Tea 1: Bad news, Blighty, it’s a drubbing for tea. A cautionary note though: caffeine peaks in the blood stream 30-60 minutes after ingestion but stays in your system for three to four hours. So use it, don’t abuse it.