Coffee: The Guilt-Free Pleasure

By Lizzy Thompson

If you are anything like me, you struggle to get through your busy day without at least one cup of coffee.  In fact, I’m sipping on a freshly brewed cup as a write this, and I assume some of you are also enjoying one as you read along.  I am also guessing that some of you are feeling a bit guilty for drinking that daily dose of liquid energy. This is typically due to the fact that coffee has received a bad rap throughout the years of its otherwise remarkable existence on this planet.  However, there are far and few facts to back up coffee’s unwholesome reputation. In reality, coffee’s benefits completely overshadow any of its undesirable qualities.

A Big Antioxidant Punch

Did you know that the java in your mug contains more antioxidants than any other food or drink in the American diet?  Research has even shown that the rumors and fears behind excess coffee consumption are completely inaccurate. In fact, higher intake means bigger benefits. Don’t feel guilty if you have more than a cup or two (or even three). Not only are you increasing your defense in the battle against free radicals and aging, but you’re also enhancing your mood!  Studies have shown that these antioxidants in coffee can help decrease your chances of depression.

Life Extension

Furthermore, coffee helps reduce the risk of most life-threatening diseases from cancer to diabetes to cardiovascular disease. More specifically, studies show that, compared to coffee abstainers, those who drank the most coffee (up to 12 cups) decreased their risk of breast cancer by over 50 percent and diabetes by over 60 percent. Some of you may have heard that coffee increases your blood pressure and can actually lead to cardiovascular disease. Conversely, one extensive study found that the risk of death from heart disease was 24 percent lower for women who drank 1-3 cups of coffee each day compared to those who didn’t drink it at all. Many comparable studies produce similar results.

The Myth of Dehydration       

I’m sure most of you have heard that coffee is a diuretic that can increase your likelihood for dehydration. This is especially bad news for those of us who drink multiple cups each day. However, a recently published study has proven this claim to be false. The caffeine in coffee may act as a diuretic, but the drink as a whole does not dehydrate you. If you are new to coffee, you may want to grab an extra glass of water on the days you need a coffee pick-me-up. The diuretic effect seems to be greater on those who are not regular drinkers. Regardless, there is no reason to avoid coffee in fear of dehydration.

No More Guilt

There is an abundance of other reasons as to why you should continue to consume coffee, but these three should give you plenty of incentive as it is. The intake of coffee means more antioxidants in your diet and possibly a longer life, and you definitely don’t need to worry about your favorite cup of brew dehydrating you. As long as you remember to keep your beloved drink as healthy as possible (light on the sugar, cream, and other calorie-packed extras), you should continue to enjoy it free of guilt!

Works Cited

Photo Credit

Categories: Your Nutrition

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