In Defense of the Coffee Bean

adelle-labrecqueBY ADELLE LaBRECQUE
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

As I sit here quietly – almost bitterly – completely, utterly sleep deprived and eyes nearly shut, I take great comfort in the familiar scent of a lightly roasted breakfast blend brewing in the coffee pot. Indeed, as many overtired and overworked coffee lovers can relate, this seemingly invincible bean has the ability to release the shackles of our early morning sourness, and simultaneously provide us with the boost of energy necessary to become the kinder human beings we truly are—after that first cup, of course.

Oh, and don’t we love it. Its distinct smell is a comforting start to our morning routine, its rich, bold taste brings familiar feelings of sudden invincibility. We can find exciting, festive brews at various times of the year, encompassing our favorite flavors and scents of the season. We search the supermarket shelves for beans grown in fields across the world, varying in climate, language, and location. We hunt for the most pure and ethical grounds possible; organic, non-GMO, and Fair-Trade Certified being only a few examples to the coffee lover. We carefully study labels and descriptions to be certain we have found the option with the most possible caffeine per mug. We relish the free coffee at the end of ten consecutive purchases from our favorite local shop. Oh yes, it is certain that we are caffeine addicts–and unashamed.

Surely, I am not alone when I associate many of my successes to the steady inhaling of caffeine. “Success” at this point in my college career, can almost certainly be attributed to an ability to drink large amounts of caffeine–and I’m not speaking in cups, here. Pots is a far more accurate measure of my regular caffeine consumption. Perhaps that may shock, or even raise some eyebrows for a few of you. That much coffee? Seriously!? That can’t be healthy! While yes, full-coffee-pot-consumption may surely have a few negative “side effects” associated with it. But overall, drinking a few cups of coffee on a regular basis, the benefit is not a one-sided argument. In fact, coffee has a surprising amount of health benefits attached to its delicious habit-forming taste and worthy expense. It is these benefits that I must defend.

So often, as with many addictive foods and beverages, it common to read articles, watch videos, or be forced to listen to your closest health-nut-type friend underline every negative effect of the particular substance on the human body. While it is surely important to know where these health boundaries lie, let us approach this conversation with the opposing knowledge of the same product.

According to researchers at UCLA, “Coffee may be protective against type 2 diabetes. [They] identified that drinking coffee increases plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG controls the biological activity of the body’s sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) which play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes … Dr. Simin Liu, one of the authors of the study, said that an “inverse association” exists between coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes.” (Medical News Today, Joseph Nordqvist, April 7th, 2016).

In another account by the same source, “Italian researchers found that coffee consumption lowers the risk of liver cancer by about 40%. In addition, some of the results suggest that if you drink three cups a day, the risks are reduced by more than 50%. The lead author of the study, Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, from Milan’s Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, said “our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health and particularly the liver.”” (Medical News Today, Joseph Nordqvist, April 7th, 2016).

While it’s important to remember that many of the studies conducted by scientists are referencing coffee in it’s purest form, (that is, without sugar, creamers, flavored syrups, and other sweeteners creamers), it’s not to say that the extra pizzazz to your daily dose of caffeine needs to be completely removed. Instead, substitute healthier, organic ingredients, such as non-dairy milks, agave sweeteners, or raw, unbleached sugars. Black coffee, however, is the healthiest way to remain a true caffeine addict. Now, doesn’t that just ring true to the coffee addict’s ears?

So, I encourage you to drink your daily cup – or cups – with the knowledge that your body is not entirely saying no to the rich, bold, delicious goodness we so often are told to quit drinking. Indeed, feel those long-winded-caffeine-hating myths from your friend wash down the drain, knowing that you are supported in your coffee-loving ways! Cheers!

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