Good ‘Ole Cup of Joe

Tracey Cheek, Staff Writer

All of you coffee lovers out there have probably heard on multiple occasions: “Coffee is bad for you, you should really cut down,” “You’re never going to be able to sleep tonight if you drink another cup of coffee,” “Coffee stains your teeth!”  Well, after all these years of being shot down for drinking so much java, it is time to take a stand.
Coffee, it turns out, is not all that bad for you. If it’s a cup per hour ratio for you at the library or espresso shots that get you ready for the Friday night pregame, then so be it. There are multiple benefits to drinking coffee, and studies keep expanding to find more and more perks of having that delicious cup of joe.
A popular myth about coffee is that it is fattening. This is both true and false, depending on how you take your drink. If you go to Dunkin Donuts and order a “large caramel coffee, light and sweet” then that will definitely pack on the calories.  Some businesses make the coffee so “light and sweet” that you are basically drinking creamer and sugar with a hint of coffee.  Keep an eye open when adding in your creamer and maybe switch sugar to a less-fattening sweetener. Switch your French Vanilla Coffeemate to fat-free French Vanilla if you really rely on creamer to drink your coffee.  The coffee bean itself is good for you and not fattening, just be aware that the stuff you add into the coffee bulks up the calories.
Studies show that drinking coffee can make you feel happier. So don’t hate next time someone looks miserable before they’ve had their morning coffee, because it truly does make a difference in mood. It is actually the antioxidants in coffee, and not the caffeine, that acts as a natural mood enhancer.
This mood enhancer may also prove to be a valuable study companion. Researchers at John’s Hopkins University have found that about 200 milligrams of caffeine, equal to a strong cup of coffee, proved to be a memory booster up to 24 hours later. According to USAToday, lead author of the study Michael Yassa “recruited 160 young, healthy participants who did not usually consume caffeine products. The participants studied a series of images, then five minutes later, took 200 milligrams of caffeine in tablet form.” The next day these participants were asked to identify a series of images, some the same as the ones they had seen before, others were similar images with slight differences. Those who consumed caffeine were more likely to correctly distinguish these slightly different images.
There are also studies which allude to assumptions that coffee may decrease stress levels.  Just the smell of coffee can make you less stressed out, sort of like aromatherapy. Next time you’re brewing up a cup of joe, take a deep breath and soak it all in You might just feel more relaxed and prepared to take on that hefty paper on your to-do list.
Studies also show that coffee is good for your liver. Consider the two things that an average college student puts into their body quite often: coffee and alcohol. This by no means is a reason to go and destroy your liver Saturday night and expect everything to be okay the next morning just because you have a cup of coffee.  But the study showed that those who drink at least one cup of coffee per day were 20 percent less likely to develop liver cirrhosis (a disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption).
So, the next person you hear boasting about their recent cut back on coffee  because they heard that is unhealthy, do them a favor and buy them a cup of joe. If it makes you happy, helps you get your work done and you just can’t imagine your mornings without that java, don’t make your life miserable by taking it away. Keep calm and enjoy that hot, steamy beverage that we have grown to love and appreciate.

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