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Sunday, December 4th
People have been consuming coffee in one form or another for hundreds of years, but it has really taken off in the last century. It would be a tall order to find a town without at least one coffee shop in this day and age, and there are a few good reasons for that. Not only is coffee flavorful, versatile, and fun to drink, but it also allows you to concentrate on your work and socialize more easily.
Between its wonderful flavor, cool culture, and great utility, it's no wonder that the drink continues to become more popular with each passing second. However, most good things come with a catch, so you may be concerned about the effect that coffee has on your health. Is your daily cup of Arabica going to extend your life? Will it send you to an early grave? If you want to better understand how coffee might affect your body, then check out this quick guide discussing the benefits and potential drawbacks of your coffee habit.
How Does Coffee Give You Energy?
Do you feel drowsy before your first cup of coffee in the morning? If you're like millions of people across the world, then you might enjoy the huge energy boost that you receive after just a few sips of a quality brew. This is because caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee, is a stimulant. Like other stimulants, caffeine boosts your heart rate and stops your body from absorbing sleep hormones. As a result, drinking a cup of coffee will eliminate your drowsiness and make you feel ready to face the day.
What About Decaf?
There's a common misconception that decaf has no caffeine, but that's not entirely true. You will get about 95 milligrams of caffeine when drinking eight ounces of regular coffee. Meanwhile, the same amount of decaf will have about two milligrams of caffeine. Thus, while decaf contains much less caffeine than normal coffee, you may still feel a slight kick if you drink too much at once or are sensitive to caffeine.
Benefits of Coffee Consumption
Reduced Risk of Developing Diabetes
Coffee contains several antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Furthermore, caffeine releases stress hormones that make it difficult for your cells to process sugar. As a result, non-diabetics who drink coffee may have a lower risk of developing the disease. However, coffee doesn't particularly help people who already have diabetes, and adding sugar, syrups, and whipped cream to your coffee could increase your risk of developing diabetes. If you are worried about becoming diabetic, then try to enjoy smaller drinks with less sugar.
Better Neurological Health
Regularly drinking coffee can prevent Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and other debilitating brain conditions. Inflammation is a major factor in many neurological diseases, and coffee is full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Consequently, your morning drink may preserve your brain well into your later years. Of course, whether a person drinks coffee or not, anyone who has a family history of Alzheimer's or any other condition should still regularly visit a doctor to check for symptoms.
Reduced Likelihood of Developing Cirrhosis
Your liver works day and night filtering toxins from your blood so that you can be healthy and comfortable. While this powerhouse is great at what it does, it is also very fragile. If your liver becomes too damaged, then you may develop cirrhosis. Unless you somehow find a liver donor, cirrhosis is practically a death sentence. Therefore, it's extremely important to take good care of your liver. Thankfully, you only need to drink about 16 ounces of coffee per day to decrease your risk of developing chronic liver disease.
Rich in Important Vitamins and Minerals
Your body needs magnesium, potassium, and riboflavin for many basic biological functions. Coffee is packed with these nutrients and several other vitamins and minerals that you need to survive. While coffee shouldn't be your only source of important vitamins and minerals, a cup or two can give you an extra boost when trying to meet your daily recommended intake.
Stress is deadly, and it affects every part of your body. People who are under a lot of stress may develop mental health problems, eating disorders, cardiovascular issues, and so much more. Because modern society is so focused on productivity, it is easy to fall behind and panic. Work-related stress can easily spiral out of control, so if you're feeling a little overwhelmed, then maybe a cup of coffee is just the thing that you need. With a little productivity boost, you can finish your work and focus on the things that make you happy. In turn, you will eliminate stress and live a healthier life.
Most stimulants are appetite suppressants, and caffeine is no exception. When you drink caffeine, your body can't efficiently produce the major hormones that make you feel hungry. In turn, you can go about your day without feeling hunger pangs for a long time, and you may even forget to eat. Because the quantity of food that you consume is important in weight loss, it is no surprise that you will lose weight by eating less. If you're an avid coffee enthusiast who has a hard time keeping weight on, then you may want to set a timer to remind yourself not to miss your next meal.
Potential Health Risks
Aggravated Skin Conditions
Like most stimulants, caffeine causes people to sweat. On top of that, it also makes the body produce more sebum, the skin's natural oil. Yeast, bacteria, and other microorganisms thrive on sweat and sebum, so excess coffee consumption may cause or exacerbate certain skin conditions. Sugar also can cause inflammation and accelerate sebum production, and many people pack their coffee drinks with sugar. If you've noticed an increase in acne or a generally poor complexion, then you may want to take less sugar in your coffee or decrease your overall coffee consumption.
Caffeine makes you alert and suppresses vital sleep hormones in your body, and this effect lasts for about six hours after every dose. Consequently, if you drink too much coffee or have it too late in the day, then you may have a hard time falling asleep. Your body needs a lot of rest to repair itself every day. Therefore, you should take great care to stop drinking coffee at least six hours before going to bed. Your favorite latte may seem like the perfect treat in the evening, but it's just not worth the sleep that you will lose.
Higher Risk of Osteoporosis in Some Individuals
When you drink a high quantity of caffeinated beverages, you may be affecting the integrity of your bones. This is because caffeine limits your body's ability to absorb calcium. In extreme cases, this can lead to osteoporosis, dental problems, and other serious issues. If you consume the recommended daily amount of calcium for your weight and gender, then this shouldn't be too much of a problem. However, if you are a major coffee drinker, then it's still a good idea to pay attention to what you eat so that you can get enough calcium to keep your bones healthy.
Obesity and Diabetes
Without any cream or sugar, coffee doesn't have any calories. However, a straight cup of black coffee is too bitter for many people. Thus, some coffee drinkers often add an array of fats and sweeteners to make their favorite drink taste more like a dessert. Naturally, when you eat a big dessert multiple times a day, it will affect your health. Sugar, whipped cream, chocolate, and other common ingredients in sweet coffee drinks are full of calories and have a high glycemic index. Consequently, too many sweet coffee drinks can result in weight gain and aggravate diabetic symptoms.
While a dessert-like coffee is okay sometimes, you should avoid drinking too many. Instead of using a ton of sugar and whipped cream, you may want to opt for artificial sweeteners and low-calorie creamer products instead. If you make coffee at home, then consider adding more water to your coffee to dilute the drink's bitterness so that you don't have to add as much sweetener.
So, Is Coffee Good for You?
All in all, coffee is a superb drink with several important health benefits. Still, you shouldn't drink too much of a good thing. Overconsumption of caffeine, fatty creamers, and sugary sweeteners can seriously affect your health. Therefore, if you find that you drink too much coffee or add a few too many sugar packets, then you should come up with an actionable plan to make your habit a bit healthier.
Thankfully, most of the negative effects of coffee consumption are completely preventable or reversible, but the positive effects can last a lifetime. Thus, you shouldn't worry too much about your health when you take your next sip of the good stuff. As long as you feel comfortable with your coffee habit and enjoy a quality brew at a reasonable hour, then you have nothing to lose sleep over.
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