Do you depend on coffee to wake you up in the morning, help you focus, and boost your energy throughout the day? If so, you’re not alone. More than half of all adults over the age of 18 drink coffee each day for the same reasons.
And you’ve heard the news throughout the years. One day, coffee is considered good for you, and the next day newscasters are saying to stay away from it. But news you’ll be glad to hear is that current research shows the health benefits of a cup or two of Joe a day outweigh the possible risks.
Now, it is important to keep in mind that we’re talking about straight coffee, not the ultra-sugar mix you get at the local coffee shop covered in whipped cream. Those should only be occasional indulgences.
As you sit and enjoy your coffee today, consider the following pros and cons.
PROTECTS AGAINST DISEASE
Coffee appears to offer numerous defenses against disease. For one, it’s good for your liver. Drink two cups of black coffee a day and reduce your risk of liver disease and liver cancer by nearly 50 percent. The more you drink, the lower your risk goes.
After years of believing coffee increased your risk of atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rate), study after study now reveals the benefits of coffee on your heart. Drink more than two cups a day and you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.
Coffee seems to drastically lower your chances of developing type two diabetes. Again, the more you drink, the lower your risk. Why this connection? The ingredients and antioxidants found in coffee work to lower your blood sugar.
Because of its effect on your brain, coffee also helps prevent diseases like Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Down some coffee each day and reduce your risk of Parkinson’s by up to 60 percent and your risk of Alzheimer’s by 65 percent.
Go from grumpy to cheery from sleepy to hyper or from distracted to focused with a cup of coffee. The ingredients in coffee increase the amount of dopamine produced by the brain. This valuable hormone helps lower your risk of the most common mental disorder—depression. Because of this effect it also helps protect against suicide.
The effect coffee has on your weight depends on the way you make it and the way your body responds to caffeine. Some studies show caffeine increase metabolism and therefore speeds calorie burn, but further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Coffee itself contains very few calories but adding cream, sugar, and flavors to your coffee quickly adds on fat and calories. And beware of those fancy coffee drinks sold at the coffee shop. They can contain upwards of 500 calories.
Additionally, drinking coffee too close to bedtime can interfere with your sleep, making it hard to fall asleep and then waking you throughout the night. This can hurt your weight, since when you’re tired during the day you’re more likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Caffeine also gives many people the jitters, making them feel nervous and restless. What do many people do when they’re anxious? They eat.
Caffeine’s a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. While it does cause a mild form of addiction, it’s in no way a harmful addiction like other drugs. Drinking coffee every day can make your body physically dependent on the caffeine so that if you’re unable to get your cup or two or three, you get headaches, irritable, depressed, and tired for several days until your body readjusts itself.