Coffee is among the most consumed — and controversial — beverages in the world. While coffee should be treated with care and avoided altogether by those who metabolize it poorly, it also provides health benefits to many people.
Coffee is the second most popular drink in the world,
trailing only water and, debatably, tea. Caffeine, a key component of coffee, is a controversial compound.
With 90% of North American adults consuming caffeine daily, it is the world’s most consumed psychoactive drug – and coffee is the delivery method of choice.
Perhaps that’s why, in the fitness world, we’ve traditionally viewed coffee with some suspicion.
But is coffee really bad for us?
Should we give up our beloved cuppa joe? If it’s bad, why does it feel so good? Coffee’s origins The coffee plant originated in East Africa — according to legend, a goat herder tried coffee cherries after he noticed his goats acting much more energetic after nibbling on the coffee bushes.
The earliest evidence of coffee drinking occurred in the 15th century in Yemen. From Yemen, coffee quickly spread to Egypt and North Africa, and by the 16th century it was being enjoyed by the rest of the Middle East, Persia, and Turkey and soon thereafter Italy and the rest of Europe.
Fast forward to today. Coffee is ubiquitous in our culture. Everywhere you look, there’s a coffee shop on the corner. What effect might our cultural love of coffee have on our health? Short answer: Well, we’re not completely sure.
Coffee’s risks Research on coffee’s safety is mixed, for several reasons:
People vary genetically in how well they can process caffeine and coffee. Coffee interacts with many hormones and neurotransmitters in the body, such as cortisol, acetylcholine, and insulin.
These relationships are complex, and often depend on timing, amount, and people’s individual makeup.
As a crop, coffee is less like corn or soy, and more like cacao or wine grapes: It’s typically grown and processed in smaller batches by smaller-scale farmers and producers.
Variations in soil and climate, as well as later roasting and brewing technique, will change the taste and chemical makeup.
It’s hard to standardize the exact chemical compounds in coffee from batch to batch.
So, what does this mean?
Well, if you're like me and you drink coffee, ask yourself this question:
Do I feel good when I do this?
If the answer is "yea! I feel like a million bucks, I'm productive, energetic, and still sleep great!" Then you my friend are all set to drink that coffee 😎 just don't overdo it.
If the answer is "I feel shaky, unfocused and I don't sleep well" then you probably don't metabolize caffeine very well and you should likely not drink coffee.
At the end of the day, thinking too much about what's good and bad for you is likely not going to help you very much, and if you enjoy your coffee and don't experience a negative impact on your life, I'd encourage you to continue doing the things you enjoy that don't harm you!
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