Coffee has become a staple beverage in the United States throughout the last century. With the introduction of instant coffee such as Maxwell House, through the rise of the café and into the third wave coffee craze hitting the country now, the average American drinks three cups of coffee per day, according to USA Today. But what does this nationwide addiction mean in terms of health?
The best first step into understanding how coffee affects us is by learning how it works. Most people know that coffee gets all of its magical powers from caffeine, which the beverage has plenty of. It binds to the chemical receptor that is usually responsible for the uptake of adenosine, which caffeine is structurally similar to (cnet). The ironic thing is that adenosine is the chemical compound in our brain that makes us sleepy. And like a lot of chemical compounds in the brain, we build up a resistance to it the more we ingest. That’s why some people need a lot more coffee to escape their zombie-like state in the morning than others.
Growing up, my parents always told me that drinking coffee would stunt your growth and give you yellow teeth, so I was wary to drink the beverage. Research into the subject pf how coffee effects these things, as well as other aspects of health, draws more of a correlation between caffeine and health effects, but considering the rate that coffee is being consumed, in this blog caffeine and coffee will be evaluated together. According to coffeeandhealth.org, coffee works as a vasodilator, which increases the blood circulation through the body and increases heart rate. Many are aware of this through the jitters and energy bursts that come with too much coffee. Likewise, coffee can facilitate digestion, but can also cause bloated-ness and nausea if they’re drank on an empty stomach, as stated by The Telegraph.
For the most part, we know more about the short term effects of coffee intake as studies into the long term effects have only began in the past 20 years. Researchers have attempted to show a link between long term diseases, such as heart disease and pregnancy complications, but for most of the cases, results have been inconclusive (coffeereview.com). If anything, we have learned that coffee is not as detrimental to our health as we originally assumed. For example, we no longer believe that coffee effects how much we will grow, based on research compiled by kidshealth.org.
Because of the nation’s growing interest in the magical black bean that is coffee, we now know more about the brew and, as of now, have less to fear than we thought thirty years ago. While the caffeine in coffee can cause anxiety and sleeplessness if abused, there are few long term effects associated with coffee that we are aware of. This does not mean that we should over-consume coffee as there is still such a thing as OD-ing on caffeine. But if you are an avid coffee drinker and want to take your brews to the next level, there is such a thing as Death Wish Coffee, which boasts 660 mg of caffeine in a cup. Go hard or go home.