The one thing the majority of people have on their minds in the morning when they first wake up is coffee. The average American drinks about three cups of coffee per day, according to a 2010 report by the National Coffee Association.
Each year, the U.S. spends more than $40 billion on coffee.
With so much coffee consumption, the question of its benefits and risks arise.
The immediate and obvious benefit of coffee is energy from the caffeine. Coffee accounts for about 75 percent of caffeine consumption in the U.S.
Aside from the boost of energy, recent Harvard studies have proven that drinking coffee regularly can help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and gallstones. It also lowers rates of the progression of liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Another study out of Harvard showed that coffee could reduce the risk for depression. The 2011 research showed that women who had four or more cups of coffee a day lowered their risk for depression by 20 percent.
Coffee is laded with essential vitamins and nutrients including vitamins B2, B3, B5 and magnesium. It also contains more fighting antioxidants than broccoli and blueberries.
While there are a number of benefits to coffee, there are also downsides.
One of the most common ones is stained teeth. Coffee falls into the cracks and ridges of teeth, which can cause a yellowing appearance.
To avoid this, dentists recommend consuming coffee during breaks rather than throughout the day. Also, rinse your mouth when you’re finished with your cup to wash the pigments of coffee from your teeth.
A common misconception that revolves around the prevention of stained teeth is to add cream. Studies disprove this notion and say that adding cream does not prevent stained teeth.
Another downside pertains solely to pregnant women. While studies are not conclusive, research suggests that women who drink high amounts of caffeine increase their risk for late miscarriage or stillbirth.
In addition, over 60 percent of people consume their coffee with creams and sugars to add flavor. This causes additional calories.
An eight-ounce cup of straight black coffee only has two calories. Adding in heavy cream and sugar can take those two calories and turn it into 102 calories. While that might not seem like much for people who drink one or two cups a day, the calories slowly start to build up for chronic coffee drinkers.
The average crop of coffee beans is coated in pesticides, so organic coffee is a healthier and safer route. If you prefer decaf, ensure that the caffeine was removed without utilizing chemicals.
The upsides of coffee tend to outweigh the downs. Here’s to the drink that keeps our lives moving.