Caffeine Craze: The Impacts of a Daily Cup of Joe

For a long time, caffeine fiends and exercise gurus alike have debated the pros and cons to coffee consumption. Do the potential benefits to your heart outweigh the possible anxiety caffeine causes? Ever since an Ethiopian goatherd discovered coffee, there has been a tremendous amount of stigma surrounding the favorite drink. While some coffee enthusiasts swear by the bean, other people have sworn off coffee for good. The history of the drink and the current verdict on the health benefits of coffee are more vibrant than the most exceptional cup of coffee ever could be.

The Health History of Coffee

The first coffeehouses sprung up in Muslim countries during the early 1500s, where coffee got the darkest stain on its reputation. According to the author Ralph Hattox, patrons of coffeehouses were more likely to gamble and engage in criminal sexual relations. This view of coffee was what lead to the Mecca’s mayor shutting down all the coffeehouses in 1511. The ban didn’t last long, however, as coffee became so crucial in Turkey that shortly after the mayor of Mecca’s initial ban on coffee, too little coffee in a marriage became grounds for divorce.

By 1600, Coffee’s influence spread through the whole continent, and was especially popular in the cities of England. Citizens heavily consumed coffee as a cure for alcoholism, a major affliction impacting men, women, and children in large cities.  Pasqua Rosée, a local coffee shop owner, ran ads in 1652 touting coffee’s aid in digestion, claimed it reduced the risk of miscarriages, and prevented gout. However, in 1674, women in London protested coffee, saying it made their husbands impotent. This protest apparently didn’t faze anyone in London, as coffee overtook tea as the most popular drink in 1730. The colonists took this preference for coffee to the Americas, especially after the Tea Party made drinking tea seem unpatriotic.

Americans have famously drank copious amounts of coffee since then (except for the mid-1800’s during the Civil War.) From the 1900’s to around 2005, researchers said that coffee was as bad as a heart attack, led to poor grades, and was responsible for urinary tract cancer. Since then, studies about coffee have been mostly positive, as scientists and journalists have claimed it lowers the risk of strokes, heart disease, and is part of a healthy diet.

Current Health Benefits of Coffee

Since 2015, health gurus and even members of the US Department of Agriculture have regarded coffee as a superfood. According to WebMD, an increased consumption of coffee goes hand in hand with a decreased risk of mortality. Researchers have said that coffee consumption could ward against Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, and type two diabetes. Coffee also improves cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. Researchers recommend between three and five cups of coffee a day. They also suggest stopping coffee consumption around four to six hours before bedtime to avoid insomnia and other sleep problems.

However, coffee is no panacea, and you must consume it with a few things in mind. Adding cream and sugar to coffee can add hundreds of extra calories. Coffee also can lead to increased stress levels and decreased mineral absorption, so be sure to drink with caution!

Drinking homemade coffee seems to be the best bet, as a medium drip roast coffee from Starbucks is five calories, three more than a traditional cup of black coffee, and their specialty drinks contain infinitely more carbs, calories, and fats than your average cup of coffee with some milk and sugar.

How much coffee do you drink? Do you have any tips on how to brew a rich pot of coffee? Let us know in the comment section below!

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