I intentionally did not bring a coffee maker with me to college. When I was doing one of my many runs through Target over the summer, I decided that I did not want to come away from college with a diploma and a caffeine addiction, so I went for the hot pot (or hot water heater) just down the isle.
When people have mentioned drinking coffee black, I’ve always shuddered at the thought…until very recently. About a week ago, someone mentioned to me that they always start their day off with a cup of coffee. My initial thought was that he was probably a caffeine addict, perhaps from the start of his college career. However he proceeded to explain that he drank his coffee black. Now the idea of this was turning me further away, until he mentioned some of the health benefits of drinking one cup of black coffee at the beginning of each day. I couldn’t leave this conversation unfinished, so I later looked up whether this might in fact be true or if it was all another health scam.
To my amazement, I discovered that coffee may, in fact, have more to offer than the average college student realizes. That is, if the coffee is served black. According to an article I found by the American Chemical Society, coffee has proven to be the number one source of antioxidants for most Americans. And by number one, I actually don’t mean number one. Dates are packed with the most antioxidants per serving, but because most Americans don’t chose dates as their go-to snack, coffee beats dates in the ranking. This itself is surprising, because items like tea, milk, chocolate, and cranberries are also commonly known for containing very high levels of antioxidants.
The good news about antioxidants in coffee is that they have been associated with a huge number of likely health benefits. The American Institute for Cancer Research has found that coffee can, in fact, help protect against cancer–specifically colon cancer and liver cancer. The American Chemical Society has found that coffee can also protect against type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. If we know this much, imagine what other health benefits we could continue to find from a simple drink like coffee in the future.
The important piece about coffee consumption is the same for any food or drink: a good thing can soon become bad if not used in moderation. For coffee–this means that a cup or two can come along with many potential health benefits. Studies have not yet shown, however, that going for a fourth or fifth cup by the afternoon is still beneficial. Additionally, these benefits aren’t necessarily going to count if you’re packing your java with creme and sugar.
I’m not sure if it was the power of suggestion, or a bright new idea of mine to start drinking my coffee black, but to me it made the most sense. It was strange how I woke up one morning and decided to drink my Trader Joe’s Instant Colombian blend without any add-ins, but I certainly feel as though it’s a better option than with loads of sugar. I look forward to seeing in the long-run if drinking a moderate amount of coffee served black impacts my health for the better.