Is Coffee Really Beneficial?

By: Skylee Ortiz

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It is! And Here’s Why.

It’s 8 o’clock in the morning and you’re yet again late for work. You throw on your clothes, grab your keys, and run out the house. While you’re running to the train station, you pass by a Starbucks. You walk in and the smell of fresh coffee grounds hits you in the face. You order your usual crazy coffee order, which isn’t really coffee—it’s more like a dessert at this point. As you step to the side waiting for your drink you hear a faint soundtrack being played and the sound of machines doing their thing. Your ears perk up to a barista calling out your order. You grab your warm cup and run out of Starbucks. You make it to the train station and get to finally take a sip of your coffee. As it hits the tip of your tongue, time begins to slow down. The sweet and salty taste fills your heart. That’s how coffee should make you feel.

Did that bring a smile to your face? Can you already smell the nut-like smokey smell of coffee in the air? If so, then you’re a part of the 64% of Americans that consume coffee everyday. Coffee is the most popular drink worldwide, and the average American drinker drinks up to 3 cups per day. Some people think drinking too much coffee, or even drinking coffee at all, is a bad thing  but according to BMC Public Health, drinking up to three or four cups of any type of coffee actually has health benefits that you need to know about. 

Drinking any type of coffee decreases the risk of having liver problems. According to researchers Kennedy, Fallowfield, and Poole,“Coffee drinkers were 21% less likely to develop chronic liver disease, 20% less likely to develop chronic or fatty liver disease, and 49% less likely to die from chronic liver disease than non-coffee drinkers.” Chronic liver disease is one of the most common liver diseases in the US and the fact that coffee is showing these results is amazing. Dr. Oliver Kennedy, who worked on this study, also stated, “Given its well known safety profile and cheap cost, coffee has potential as a widely accessible lifestyle intervention, even in low to middle- income countries.” Using coffee to cut down these risks is very helpful, especially in lower income countries because that’s where treatment isn’t really accessible. 

Caffeine is also preventive for Alzheimer’s disease. Millions of Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2021 and it’s very sad to see, especially if it’s a family member. In a research article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, neurologist Marjo H., states that “In the CAIDE study, coffee drinking of 3-5 cups per day at midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD by about 65% at late-life. In conclusion, coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD.” This needs to be heard because Alzheimer’s is on the rise. 

Adding all that Sugar

“Generally speaking, sticking to no added sugar is the healthiest option. This would mean [having] coffee black or with some dairy/non-dairy milk. If sugar is required, then sticking with a small amount of regular sugar is fine,” says registered dietitian Abbie Gellamn, who I recently interviewed. And she’s right. Adding all that cream, sugar and whipped cream to your coffee is basically just dessert, which makes it a very unhealthy food. It changes the flavor balance and doesn’t make it as beneficial as it should be. Like Abbie said, add just a small amount of sugar. 

“The president’s Coffee Mug was ‘more in the nature of a bathtub.’” –Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Now how much coffee is too much coffee? Orli Etingin, M.D., whose expertise is in Women’s Health, answers:  “I’d say that more than 7-8 cups is harmful in some patients.” She states that coffee can only be harmful in those who are sensitive to caffeine. “In those sensitive people it can irritate the stomach, predisposing to peptic ulcer disease.” A common disease with more than 200,000 US cases per year.

Common Misconceptions

Can coffee stunt your growth?

This is one common myth that caffeine can slow down your growth. Though coffee can have many effects on your body, there is no study that proves that caffeine can stunt your growth!

Can coffee make you lose weight?

Dr.  Etingin mentioned that “A lot of patients use it as a mild appetite suppressant—to control their weight. And it can do that.” Yes, it can balance out your weight, but it will not make you lose weight.

Is Coffee dehydrating?

Nope! Every cup of coffee contains water.

For many of us, coffee plays an important role in our lives, whether it helps us stay up in the morning or we just enjoy drinking during the day (*cough cough* me…). It’s something you can always count on in case you’re having a bad day. Coffee is an amazing drink because it decreases the risk of having liver problems and is preventive for people with Alzheimer’s disease. 

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