Listen Up Coffee Extremists

The past couple of years I’ve questioned whether coffee is okay to be drinking once, every day or more. Being a coffee addict myself, I’d like to know that drinking it every day or even just occasionally is fine. When I was a child, my mother always told me it wasn’t good for me: that it would stunt my growth and stain my teeth, which was interesting considering I had watched her drink it every morning. As I got older, my dad always offered me a cup in the morning, so I was quickly becoming attached throughout high school. After spending some time doing some
research, I’ve found that caffeine is a widely consumed, psychoactive drug, and there have been many studies on the health effects and benefits of having a cup a day.

For those who do not know, here is the background on caffeine and how it acts on your body; research is provided by and Professor Jason Cholewa, Ph.D., an assistant professor of exercise and sport science at Coastal Carolina. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, allowing you to wake up by competing for adenosine receptors. Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter produced by the body to promote sleep and bind your blood vessels to allow more oxygen into the brain during sleep; it works as a central nervous system depressant. Caffeine is a molecule that looks like adenosine molecules, so the caffeine starts to block the adenosine. This is how caffeine provides alertness to your body by minimizing migraines or headaches, stimulating muscles, and of course allowing you to enjoy it. Then it tells you that you’re not tired anymore and that you can keep going. Sometimes it can allow you to be more concentrated when doing schoolwork or more motivated to go to the gym. In summary, caffeine acts as a bodyguard so adenosine can’t latch onto a cell so that you won’t be as tired.

There are many opinions on coffee not being beneficial towards your body and others, like me, that say otherwise. Of course, both statements can be true depending on the circumstances. When people add lots of sugar, cream, and syrups, the coffee becomes very high in calories and fattening. Unfortunately, some college students don’t even notice what they’re putting into their bodies. They may not realize that their Starbucks sugar drinks are a cause of weight gain. On top of that, they may not proportion correctly. Students don’t need a large drink of sugary tea, Frappuccino or iced coffee when a tall would have the desired affect that their looking for. A venti Starbucks Frappuccino is around 490 calories and 77 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of fat and they don’t even have caffeine in them. There are so many ways to drink or make coffee that tastes good without adding all of that junk. When it’s time for me to get my cup of joe, I think about ways that I can minimize the sugar and calories. The first way to cut back on coffee calories would be to make it at home and add little creamer. A second way would be that if you do go to Starbucks, investigate the nutrition menu. Add nonfat or almond milk instead of two percent and add sugar-free syrup instead of sugar syrup. You could even minimize the number of “pumps” since every pump is 20 calories.

Aside from the nutrition of coffee, according to the, coffee can protect people from Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Coffee can improve energy levels because of caffeine’s power to block adenosine molecules. It can help burn fat by boosting the metabolic rate from 3-11% (however, that can subside in long-term coffee drinkers). Coffee can improve physical performance as well because it increases adrenaline levels and releases fatty acids from the fat tissues. Because the adenosine molecules are being blocked, your body can keep going. Many liver diseases stem from a condition called cirrhosis, and coffee may protect you from this condition.

Other benefits of drinking coffee include having a longer life because it’s an antidepressant and has many antioxidants. Unfortunately, coffee can have adverse health effects depending on several factors; your genetics may render you to be unable to drink coffee, and it could lose its effects if you’re older or have been drinking it long enough to become immune to the effects.

My love for coffee has gone on for about six years. I believe that besides coffee having health benefits, it brings people together. It starts relationships, love, or connections. Many people connect over a cup of coffee while being at home or in a coffee shop. I always know that coffee is the one thing that will bring my dad and I together because we both enjoy it so much.

Now my purpose behind finding this research wasn’t to tell you to go home and drink a bunch of coffee, but rather to inform you that it is not harmful to your body. If you are careful with what you put into your coffee (like cream and sugar) then it could be more beneficial. It is also a relationship builder throughout the world and a common habit that many people share. Coffee seems to be one of the most popular drinks in the world today.