How Does Drinking Coffee Affect You?

As I am writing this article at 8:34 p.m. I am sipping my coffee. Yes, I am one of those people who drink about 4 cups of coffee a day. I can’t imagine my life without it mostly because I love how it tastes. Having heard that coffee is good for the body as well as that it’s not, I really wanted to research this topic and here is what I found.

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Scientists have discovered several health benefits of coffee. One of them, a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Drinking coffee regularly also lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because the antioxidants in coffee help improve the sensitivity of insulin. In addition, some studies have concluded that regular coffee consumption could lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.  When you drink coffee, dopamine is released in your blood, so your mood improves. That might be why some studies have found that drinking coffee decreases the risk of depression. Since coffee is a stimulant, you will feel more alert and it might be easier to focus on your work. You are also less prone to make mistakes. Coffee can also improve your memory and in long term reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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Some of the negative effects that coffee has on your body include birth defects if you drink it during pregnancy. Because coffee stimulates the nervous system to produce adrenaline, it might cause increased blood pressure and heart rate. Heartburn and increased acid in your stomach are also some negative effects of coffee consumption. Most of the negative effects can manifest only if you have more than 6 cups of coffee a day. However, be careful, because the coffee you buy in coffee shops like Starbucks come in various sizes and the medium or large-sized drinks include several “cups” of coffee.

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When drinking coffee, remember that it’s also about what you add to it. If you like the sweetened coffee drinks with cream, sugar and flavored syrups, you are consuming a lot of calories. Try to have drinks like these only as a dessert or a treat but not on a regular basis. Even adding a tablespoon of milk to your coffee multiples the calories of the drink by 5!

Coffee can be enjoyed in various ways. Drip coffee, espresso drinks, French press, cold brew, and the list goes on. It is interesting that different types of coffee contain different chemicals and can vary in the way they affect our bodies. 16 oz cup of cold brew contains a bit more caffeine than two espresso shots, but a 16 oz regular coffee from Starbucks contains twice as much! In addition, dark roast coffee contains a chemical that is produced during roasting and can irritate your stomach to produce more acid.

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If you can’t drink coffee for health reasons or you just want to reduce your coffee consumption, there are many alternatives available. If you enjoy the taste of green tea, try matcha. It still has caffeine but doesn’t have all the side effects of coffee. It also contains L-theanine which makes your body feel “calmly alerted”. In addition, there are alternatives like chicory root drinks that taste similar to coffee and other herbal drinks like Teecino, that don’t contain caffeine at all.

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If you love coffee as much as I do, don’t worry about the negative effects too much! As long as you think about the amount of coffee you consume every day and what calorie rich substances you add to it, you should be fine. However, there are many alternatives if you ever feel like you should cut back.