I was not always into coffee. In fact until relatively recently, like maybe the last year or so, I barely ever had this drink. Because, you know what, this drink was bitter to me at first. But I do have to say it has really, really grown on me.
I’ve even started to drink it straight black.
No milk or sugar.
If the me from 2 years ago could see me now, I wouldn’t know me.
In regard to this coffee thing at least.
Now if you’ve ever read my blog in the past, you might know of my love letter to Tea (Tea Haven).
I talked about how it all started for me and some of the health benefits I’ve learned about along the way. This time around, I’m talking about my recent (but still powerful) love for coffee. Seeing as it’s Monday, I think it’s a great time to talk about what’s helping a lot of people wake up to get this week started. On any given Monday, I might be having a cup to perk me up about mid morning. Any day of the week really. Even though they’re not super healthy, once in a while, I will end up in Starbucks or some specialty coffee shop to have a nice, super expensive and fancy cup of coffee. Who wouldn’t? When they taste so good and make you feel so energetic. It certainly doesn’t hurt if done right and in moderation. Or sometimes I’ll make my own at home and add all the trimmings, like this…
I love….coffee…it does so much for me.
There have been plenty of studies and debates about whether or not coffee is good for you, and to be honest, I have seen many different results of said studies.
Some say it’s good for you.
Some say it’s bad for you.
The common thread I seem to find is that it’s okay for you, in moderation.
Which is not super surprising to me because most things in life are good in moderation. Coffee. Wine (Wine Amor). Too much of anything is never good. Not even things that you think are really really good for you like vitamin supplements, which I talk about in this article. (Supplements vs. Whole Foods)
So what are the risks and benefits? Yes. There are some risks to having too much coffee. Let’s not forget about the little molecule that is responsible for the pick me up coffee gives us.
The most widely consumed drug in world, which is not even regulated as other substances that are considered a drug according to my Plants and Society Professor. Cool class I took in my second semester of college, back when I still did not like coffee, but I digress.
Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is commonly used by most people to stave off physical fatigue and also assist with drowsiness and the dread of Monday mornings all over the world. It has been shown to also improve concentration and alertness in the first hour after after consumption.
Of course this is all dependent on the amount of caffeine intake, which is dependent on many other factors such as what type of coffee you’re having or how it’s prepared (latte vs. espresso, percolated vs. instant, etc.). All of this coffee being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing is definitely a lot of gray area as opposed to being one or the other. So without getting too scientific, I’ll just present some of the overall good and bad. I’ll start with…
– of course, this drink does wonders to pick your face up off the floor, and get you going in the mornings. Improved alertness, concentration and decreased fatigue (mentally and physically).
– Some studies are showing that there may be a link between coffee consumption and decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease.
– coffee drinkers also seem to have some protection from cardiovascular disease.
– coffee may also also reduce the risk of liver disease
– caffeine is shown to increase basal metabolic rate in adults
– nonregular coffee drinkers might notice that drinking coffee can definitely stimulate urination. Regular coffee drinkers may notice it’s laxative effect, which may be problematic if abused for this purpose.
– in those who are sensitive to caffeine, the slight temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate may be problematic (especially if you already have hypertension) if intake is high.
– it is no secret that caffeine can be addicting and once that need is established it can be difficult to shake, which is never a good thing. If you can’t get through your day without the coffee fix, it can definitely be considered too much. Withdrawal symptoms include: headache, fatigue, anxiety, depressed mood, irritability
– having coffee late in the day can interfere with sleep patterns
So, how do we make sure we tip the scale in the direction of the good effects that coffee can have? Much like with drinking tea, the way you take your coffee has a lot to do with it. Here are some tips to make your coffee drinking more healthy!
- Cut down on the milk/cream and sugar content. Of course, this helps to avoid the calorie pile-up and/or blood-sugar spiking effects.
- Have less coffee. If you cut down on the amount of cups you reach for in the day, maybe you can go for that cream, or a little more sugar. Just don’t do it five times a day. It’s all about balance and trade offs. A little less of this, so you can have some of that. Slowly taper off the amount you have in a day if you feel anxious about just cutting it to once in the morning.
- The time of day matters. Speaking of mornings, this is actually the best time to get the most out of your coffee for the day. To be more specific, mid-morning coffee is best. Resist the urge to have it first thing as you’re waking up, and also anywhere close to bed time. It will mess with your sleep and stress hormone levels, especially if you’re dependent.
Try to take these into account and enjoy the greatness which is coffee (guilt free!)