There are only two things that can get me going in the morning: a steaming, hot latte or a steamy sweat session. I love to work out and treat my body well, but I also have a very serious relationship with coffee (Spoon’s comprehensive ‘Guide to Coffee’ is more of a love letter than an informational guide for me). While my addiction may have prevented me from pursuing these questions in the past, I am brave enough to ask now: Where does this drink fall on the health scale? Should I kick it to the curb if I’m looking to treat my body well? Lucky for me (and the majority of the world), it turns out coffee is loaded with benefits.
- Coffee can protect your body from a host of diseases, such as Parkinson’s, liver cancer and type 2 diabetes.
- It has a ton of antioxidants (take that, cranberries).
- People who drink up to six cups a day show no signs of increased risk of death by cardiovascular disease or cancer, as previously believed (thanks for the reassurance, Harvard!).
- Coffee keeps your brain alert and healthy — evidence reveals that consumption wards off Alzheimer’s and dementia later on in life, and according to the Huffington Post, it can even mitigate stress.
- It builds strength: Some studies report that the trace of caffeine in coffee has a similar effect to that of exercise on the ability to repair muscles.
- The most popular drinks, like lattes and mochas, can contain many unwanted calories in the use of heavy sweeteners, syrups, whole milk and whipped cream.
- High consumption of unfiltered coffee has been linked to high cholesterol.
- Heavy caffeine use (which the Mayo Clinic cites as “4 to 7 cups a day”) can lead to restlessness, irritability, anxiety and loss of sleep.
- Caffeine may cause spikes in blood sugar.
Ultimately, coffee is noted to be a safe choice, even for the nuttiest of health nuts. However, as with pretty much everything else, moderation is key (so none of that “12 cups a day during finals week” BS). Health-conscious students shouldn’t feel any guilt about a cup (or two) per day. I know I won’t — just ask Lisa, my favorite Starbucks barista.