The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Daily dose of caffeine

A bi-daily latte rush has been given a positive light. Google Image

My earliest coffee memory is 14 or 15 years old. Just before my bedtime, Grandma would pour a hot mug of the good stuff, take out another mug and continue to pour it back and forth between the two cups until it became a frothy delight. Then I would drink it—foam first, of course—and head to sleep, blissfully unaware of caffeine’s intended use.

Since those youthfully wild-spirited days, I have become an occasional coffee drinker. News snippets detailing recent studies every now and then have kept my Starbucks visits to a minimum with their cautionary tales of unregulated caffeine intake. However, upon some serious (online) research on the advantages and disadvantages of drinking coffee, I may soon order something other than white hot chocolate from the City Café.

How could I not, when articles from credible sources say that coffee helps prevent in terminal illness, depression, and a lower risk of a brain disorder, among other reasons?

“Newer studies have…shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. And it has a high content of antioxidants,” writes Donald Hensrud, M.D., Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist.

A study undertaken by a group of Harvard University researchers on coffee’s effects on women reported, “Our results support a possible protective effect of caffeine, mainly from coffee consumption, on risk of depression.”. This appears to be good news, especially since National Institute of Mental Health states that women are more likely to suffer from depression than men.

So, a bi-daily latte rush is clearly in order. Anything less would surely constitute an open invitation to illness and disorder into our bodies!

Not quite.
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“Earlier studies [on the effects of coffee-drinking] didn’t always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time,” Hensrud goes on to write.

However, those same studies report that heavy drinking of unfiltered coffee can lead to a rise in cholesterol levels, while people with certain kinds of metabolism who drink two or more cups of joe a day may experience a higher risk of heart disease.

So individual traits are a significant influence on whether partaking in the quintessential pick- me-up does the body more harm than good. For my money, a cup a day seems to be the definite safe health zone, though all of the studied benefits of two cups a day should help quell the fears of heavier drinkers.

Many downsides of coffee-drinking (highly concentrated sugar content and calories) can be stemmed by excluding additives like sugar and flavored coffee creamers. Coffee is an acquired—and bitter—taste, to be sure, but straight, no-frills ground beans do leave me with less to work off than the admittedly delicious half-French-vanilla-creamer-half-coffee concoction I tend to fill my mug with.

Coffee connoisseurs will likely be encouraged by these studies, for who doesn’t like to hear theirs is a healthy hobby?

Meanwhile, more casual or non-drinkers may be encouraged to add a daily cup of the good stuff to their diets with less fear of it producing negative side-effects.

Chances are it might just do the opposite.

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