Anyone that has ever tried to be a morning person or has become a night owl knows that caffeine is a definite must. Hectic schedules with early mornings and late nights typically call for a cup of coffee at some point in the day. Unfortunately, the general public has this notion that “coffee is unhealthy and should be avoided”. However, this statement is not completely accurate.
The Plus Side
Aside from the fact that coffee contains caffeine, it actually has several powerful health benefits. Along with being a large source of antioxidants in the Western diet, people that enjoy having a nice cup of “joe” have a much lower risk of depression, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Scientific studies illustrate that those who drink coffee tend to live longer than people who do not. It is not every day that someone can find themselves feeling motivated, determined, and ready to go. The sad truth is that we all experience those days that seem to drag on and have watched our eyes spontaneously close at some point when they are not supposed to. Luckily, coffee is available to help increase wakefulness, alleviate fatigue, and improve concentration and focus. The DRIs (dietary reference intakes) deem three to five cups of coffee per day as safe, which means that it is perfectly acceptable to consume in moderation and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The Down Side
The point at which coffee becomes unhealthy is when people add unnecessary amounts of cream, sugar, milk, flavor shots, whip cream, etc. There is no doubt that a regular black coffee with nothing added to it is the most nutritious for your body. A cup of plain brewed coffee has approximately five calories and no fat in it versus a small coffee from Tim Hortons that has seventy-five calories and three and a half grams of fat. Now, that might not seem like a lot, but keep in mind that this is only referring to a small with one cream and one sugar. Think about how the nutrition information would skyrocket with a larger sized cup containing three creams and three sugars. It is alarming how susceptible people are when they order extra ingredients to their coffee, just to make it taste better.
Try it Black!
Black coffee might not be the most wonderful tasting beverage out there, but it is an acquired taste and is much more influential for those looking to decrease their calorie, fat, and sugar intake. So next time you hear somebody say that coffee is bad for you, just keep in mind that it is not! Drink in moderation, space out the intake, and be conscious of what you put into your cup and coffee will indeed benefit you in the long run.
Blog post by Molly Gorski
References (for pictures, as well):
Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. (2015). Retrieved September 3, 2017, from NCBI PubMed website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20182054
Neurodegenerative Disorders. (2017). Retrieved September 3, 2017, from coffee&health website: http://www.coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/coffee-and-alzheimers-disease/
Tim Hortons Nutrition Guide. (2016). Retrieved September 3, 2017, from Tim Hortons website: http://www.timhortons.com/us/en/menu/nutrition-and-wellness.php