There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have a coffee. I can give up a lot of things in the pursuit of health. I even gave up Starbucks (and I was the biggest addict around for years), but I can’t give up coffee. In fact, I have one on my desk right beside me as we speak.
When I was younger, my parents and peers always talked about coffee as if it was this terrible thing, and I supposed their words weren’t entirely untrue. I am now well past the *growing stage* in a human’s development, and I am still shorter than both my parents. You can thank coffee for that. I started drinking it right at the peak of my growth spurt- at age 14- and effectively stunted my growth.
14 years old, or ninth grade, was when I started staying up very late, and so I compensated for it by drinking massive amounts of caffeine. Genetically speaking, I could have grown at least another 2-3 inches, but I stupidly undermined myself without even realizing it. So if I could go back in time, I would stop myself from drinking coffee until senior year, because girls typically stop growing or slow down at that age.
For years, I was a caffeine fiend. I’d have 2-3 coffees a day when it was crunch time (or even when it wasn’t). I’d drop tons of money feeding my Starbucks addiction with pumpkin spice lattes or caramel macchiatos (while simultaneously setting myself up for diabetes, probably- I had no idea how much sugar was in those drinks). I soon became dependent on caffeine to stay awake/alert past regular school hours (ie: tutoring after school), and even when I got enough sleep, I still felt the need to grab a coffee. This continued on for a long time, from the time I started drinking coffee and into university.
In the Fall of my second year in university, I knew that I had to improve my health because my diet was terrible, I did little exercise, and I always felt tired and sluggish. So my cutting out of Starbucks and excess caffeine came with my promise to live a more healthy life. I’ll save the extra details for another time, but I had to slowly wean off of it because I was so used to having 2+ caffeinated drinks a day (ie: a latte in the morning, a small coffee in the afternoon).
Eventually, I cut out all drinks that were not coffee, plain tea, or water (which meant no more lattes). I got my intake down to one morning coffee a day, and it’s stayed that way ever since. Because while I do want to live a healthy and balanced life, life is too short for me to not enjoy the things I love most in moderation. A coffee a day never hurt anyone, and for those that didn’t know, coffee actually provides health benefits when taken in moderation. Coffee itself has almost zero calories- it’s just the cream and sugar that makes it ‘bad’.
- Coffee may be good for your liver – regular coffee consumption may reduce a person’s risk of certain liver disorders, lowering the risk of liver cancer by 40% and cirrhosis by as much as 80%.
- Coffee can help you burn fat and and boost your metabolism – this is the reason why caffeine is usually the primary ingredient in most over-the-counter diet supplements. While drinking coffee will not make you lose weight, it can help raise the metabolic rate and boost your athletic performance.
- Coffee is an all-around performance booster – both physically and mentally. Best of all, it’s legal.
- Coffee can lower your risk of diabetes – research has found that having 3-4 cups of coffee a day is correlated with a 25% lower risk in type II diabetes.
- Coffee is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – as you age, coffee can slow down “the onset of neurodegenerative disease,” and can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 60%, and Parkinson’s of 32-60%.
So despite these health benefits, too much of a good thing can be harmful, especially if you are just starting to drink coffee and haven’t yet developed a tolerance for caffeine- even one cup can have you up half the night. Do enjoy this wondrous beverage, but enjoy in moderation, and adjust according to your body’s needs.