Body Blog: Coffee – Yay or Nay?

As we all head back into our routine of late night partying studying, coffee seems to be the obvious pick-me-up to get us out of bed and into life come morning time. You know a venti glass of water isn’t going to give you the necessary push to get you through that 8am lecture.

Yet, with more and more scientific studies rolling through (each one conflicting with the one before it), many are starting to wonder if coffee is really helping or hurting the mind and body. So, before you pick up another pot cup of java, consider these pros and cons cited from the Pacific Northwest Foundation.

PROS

1. “Caffeine speeds up fat metabolism during exercise while conserving glycogen and glucose thereby maintaining brain activity and reducing hunger.”

Wait, coffee actually makes your workouts more efficient, allowing you to burn more calories and kick those hunger pangs? Jackelyn says: Hollaaaa! Although, be careful – too much caffeine and exercise can make you feel jittery and result in poor performance. But a nice cup of coffee before hitting the gym could be just the boost your body needs.

2. “Coffee may reduce the incidence of kidney stones by increasing the flow of urine and decreasing its concentration.”

Even if you haven’t had one, anyone who knows anything understands that kidney stones can hurt. A lot. If coffee can help prevent the pain I say, “bring on the lattes!”

3. “Coffee has four times the anti-oxidants of Green Tea, makes an excellent anti-depressant, and enhances performance and memory.”

Take that, tea drinkers! (Just kidding – tea has great benefits as well). But this is great news. We all often turn to coffee in moments of serious stress (think: midterms, before a giant presentation, on a Friday morning after Thirsty Thursday….) so an anti-depressant and a little memory enhancement is exactly what we need. And the whole “not passing out on a stack of books at 3am” doesn’t hurt either. Straight A’s, here we come.

CONS

1. “Cortisol levels are raised which, in turn, results in constriction of the blood vessels, harder pumping of the heart and higher blood pressure.”

While it differs by age, high blood pressure is never good for anyone. Do you really want to put your body through that much stress just for a little extra energy?

2. “Coffee stimulates more frequent urination and subsequent loss of various vitamins and minerals such as B, C, calcium, iron and zinc. “

Because coffee runs out of our bodies so quickly (which explains the whole “prevent kidney stones” thing), it takes a lot of stuff with it. Important stuff that our bodies need.

3. “Caffeine may aggravate osteoporosis by leaching calcium from the bones.”

Osteoporosis is a real issue in women and drinking coffee can leave you more at risk? Scary stuff. No one wants weak bones.

So what does all this mean?

Considering there are conflicting stories about coffee coming out every day, it means you gotta take it all with a grain of salt (or a pack of Splenda?). None of these studies factor in how many times you drink coffee a day, how many ounces you drink at a time, or how much sugar/cream you put in. And all those things matter.

At the end of the day, internalize these findings – they all contain some truths – but remember that one or two cups of coffee a day isn’t going to hurt you. In fact, one cup of coffee before the gym or during a big exam is only going to help.

You’ve read the facts – coffee or no coffee?

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