Freshman, journalism major
It’s difficult to even walk to class and not see a white paper cup marked with the familiar Starbucks logo. Long nights of studying no doubt call for coffee across campus. However, Lady Starbucks happily makes more appearances across the nation because of the culture of coffee. For some, coffee is a treat for social time. For others, downing a caffeinated beverage is as much a part of the morning ritual as is getting out of bed.
And perhaps that is how it should be.
Coffee tends to get a bad rap for being harmful to the body. And, to an extent, this is justified. The caffeine in coffee kicks in quickly to make you more alert and focused, but this could also increase your risk of having a stroke. Caffeine in excess, like most things, can be harmful. Caffeine can increase your heart rate, cause insomnia, and give you anxiety. Furthermore, if you’re a heavy coffee drinker, the lack of caffeine can give you symptoms of withdrawal like headaches, irritability and nausea.
But the words “coffee” and “caffeine” are not synonymous. Coffee is a beverage rich in substances and antioxidants aiding its effect on the body in different ways. Not much has been proven about direct effects of coffee, but what we do know, and what is perhaps the greatest benefit of coffee, is that it is most definitely not going to kill you. According to a Harvard study, there is no relationship between the consumption of coffee and the risk of death, so you can breathe easily and take another sip.
Coffee has been linked to lower risks of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. It also reduces stress and reduces the risks of various forms of cancer like skin, mouth, and prostate. A consistent consumption of coffee can also put you at a lower risk for diabetes. And, despite being put in a bad light, caffeine looks a lot like a friend with its capability to decrease the likelihood of depression, possibly by boosting neurotransmitters associated with mood.
But before you begin to gulp down your cups of joe, remember that coffee isn’t water. High consumption, which Harvard Medical School states as being 3 to 6 eight-ounce cups a day, could have negative outcomes, such as a rise in blood pressure or increased cholesterol. And just like people, there are a wide variety of coffee types. For instance, some coffees are brewed with paper filters that filter out substances known to increase cholesterol levels.
So next time you need that pick-me-up, don’t be afraid to grab that cup of coffee from the Starbucks counter: it could be beneficial to your body and give you the energy to start the day. Just drink coffee in moderation and, as Huffington Post tells us, because of its long-lasting effects, try to avoid drinking it 8 hours before hitting the sack.
But of course, with that paper to write and the test tomorrow morning that you have yet to study for, you may have a little longer than 8 hours before sleep is in sight. At least coffee has your back.
“Ask the Expert: Coffee and Health.” The Nutrition Source. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/coffee/>.
L.D., Kristin Kirkpatrick M.S. R.D. “9 Amazing Benefits of Coffee.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/coffee-health-benefits_b_2962490.html>.
Schocker, Laura. “10 Things You Might Not Know About Caffeine.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/25/caffeine-facts_n_3814825.html>.
Walton, Alice G. “A Little Coffee May Be Good — Dare We Say Healthy? — For Body And Brain.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/01/10/a-little-coffee-may-be-good-dare-we-say-healthy-for-body-and-brain/>.
“What Is It about Coffee? – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2015. <http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/what-is-it-about-coffee>.