Why I won’t give up drinking coffee
Coffee: Never gonna give you up, never going to say goodbye…
I love coffee. That’s probably obvious from my title. Every now and then a new study will appear in the literature suggesting that cutting back on coffee, or quitting coffee would be a good thing. Coffee contains caffeine, obviously, and caffeine is a known stimulant that increases your heart rate, your metabolism and can harm unborn babies so isn’t recommended for pregnant women (Source: Good Health).
High consumption over a long period of time can increase your risk of high blood pressure and disrupt your sleep. I certainly know that if I have coffee late in the day, or any other caffeinated beverage (although I drink these so rarely it could be the sugar in them as much as the caffeine that’s at fault) I’ll struggle to sleep. It has also been said that coffee can dehydrate you as it’s a diuretic, which means you pee more (Source: ABC).
There are other possible risks, as reported by Today.com. “We know that if you have unfiltered coffee, that there is a substance called cafestol that increases your cholesterol level. So if you drink it throughout the day, it can increase your risk of heart disease.”
However these studies tend to conclude that ‘moderate’ intake is unlikely to be harmful. Moderate, from what I can ascertain, seems to be less than 4 cups, or four shots, of espresso a day. I certainly rarely drink 4. Most days I average 2 or 3.
Why you don’t need to quit drinking coffee
The jury is clearly still out on whether coffee is ‘really’ bad for you. Research reported in The Telegraph states that coffee is “extremely rich in a diverse group of antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids, which deliver anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticoagulant (blood thinning) benefits”.
Note this is just one of a number of sources that cite the same positive benefits. The same article reports that coffee has been found to have a positive impact on risk of Type 2 diabetes (a subject close to my heart!) liver health and neurological health.
The Huffington post released a list of 11 reasons why you should drink coffee every day, found here. Notable on that list are a number of psychological benefits, which I believe are as important, if not more so, than the research showing it ‘may’ improve aspects of your health.
Basically, if starting your day with a steaming cup of deliciousness, or finding a quiet moment during the day to appreciate its goodness gives your mind a break, then go for it. Paradoxically, despite the caffeine jolt which does sometimes make my heart race, drinking coffee makes me almost visibly relax. For five minutes. (Relaxing not being anywhere near my natural state 😉 ).
It also works as an appetite suppressant for me, so sometimes a cup of coffee mid-afternoon will take the edge off my desire to snack, particularly if I can remove myself from my desk or wherever it is that tedium is threatening to overtake me, to go and enjoy it.
Quitting coffee: in conclusion
So in summary, if you’re not madly in love with your regular cups of coffee and think you could manage going without fairly painlessly, give it a go. Friends of mine who’ve ‘quit coffee’ have reported feeling far more alive and energetic as a result. But if like me you really enjoy it in moderation don’t feel pressured to give it up.