Is Coffee Your Friend or Foe? What you Should Know Before that Next Cup

Image by: Jorge Royan
By: George Lamb

Where would America be without coffee? We’d all probably be trudging through our days like zombies after a shot of morphine. These days, America–and many other parts of the world–rely on coffee to get them through their daily routines. That’s all fine and dandy—the fact that it is greatly beneficial in aiding you throughout the day–but while it may seem like its having positive effects on you, some may even consider it a drug on par with alcohol and cigarettes. Scary, huh…

The reason why they consider it a drug? That’s simple, it’s because it’s highly addictive and has enough caffeine to excite a small whale. But although it is packed with caffeine, coffee does have a ton of nutrients that can be beneficial to your health such as potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, niacin, and choline. Along with this, if you plan on drinking your coffee with milk, it can serve as an excellent source of vitamin D.

So, do the Pros outweigh the Cons? We’ll just have to see about that. Here are a few reasons why coffee can be good and bad for your health.

#1) The Good

You may have never suspected,  but studies show that coffee may decrease the risk for colon, ovarian, liver, oral, and prostate cancers –as well as basal cell carcinoma, stroke and heart disease. Along with that it may also help to prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and type two diabetes. Some studies even shown that drinking coffee may even protect the eyes from retinal degeneration as a result of aging, diabetes and glaucoma.

Don’t get too excited yet, though. Although the research is promising, these studies are only prospective of 10 or 15 years of a persons life span so it’s not really enough to propose a law that demands everybody to engorge themselves with coffee.

Some immediate and more obvious positive effects one can have is a better mood, more energy and even weight loss. Drinking coffee can also improve memory and reaction time, hence you being on edge after a helping.

A study by the Harvard school of public Health even deduced that people who drink two to four cups of coffee reduce their risk of suicide by nearly 50%, so if you’re depressed about the way things are going in life, you may or may not want to consider picking up the habit. And  not only is it somewhat of an anti-depressant, but it can also serve as a good pre-workout drink, as a cup 30 minutes to an hour before your workout can increase your performance in the gym as well. And you know what that means?

More gains, people!

#2) The Bad

While there seems to be many upsides to drinking coffee, there are of course just as many downsides as well. As I’ve stated before: when you decide to regularly drink coffee you’re messing with a drug that you can become dependent on and may find it difficult to stop once quitting time rolls around. And once the time does come, anybody getting rid of the stimulant cold turkey can expect to experience migraines, mental fuzziness and fatigue–until the body adjusts.

That’s not all—coffee also increases anxiety and disrupts sleep patterns, often times leading to a dreadful cycle of restless sleep which can result in you relying on caffeine to help with daytime fatigue, followed by more nights of insomnia.

Coffee increases blood sugar levels, making it harder for those with type two diabetes to manage their insulin—according to a number of studies; and it is also known to raise the blood pressure. If this person is you and you have difficulty controlling either your blood pressure or diabetes and you refuse to give up the mug, then you may want to at least save your body some trouble and switch to decaf.

Also, one more thing to note: If you’re taking up prescription medications such as thyroid medication or psychiatric and depression drugs, caffeine may interact with these, giving you a compound effect that could prove to be devastating to your health.

So, coffee drinker…do the pros outweigh the cons? It’s up to you.

Are you a daily coffee drinker that would rather give up his own head than to put down the mug? Tell us about how and why you rely on coffee to get you through that grueling 8 hour shift