Coffee: Comfort Drink or Addiction?
Coffee is one of those drinks that I try to stay away from. After seeing my brother get withdrawal headaches after a morning without coffee and watching antsy people waiting impatiently in line at Starbucks for their fix, I figure it's probably best not to get started.
It's difficult to classify coffee because it means so many different things to many people. For the most part, I believe people use coffee for the caffeine, to wake up and gain some energy. As a waittress at a breakfast and lunch eatery I see people sit down while one word rolls off their tongue: "COFFEE."
Rarely I witness people drinking coffee just for the taste, especially without loading up on sugar/sugar substitutes and creamer. Yes, it has a nice smell, and it's nice that it's a warm drink. I'm sure plenty enjoy its warmth and strength after dessert at a restaurant.
Coffee has a varied history of uses around the world. It was initially used for spiritual reasons. About 1,000 years ago, traders brought coffee across the Red Sea into Arabia. Coffee was substituted in place of wine where wine was forbidden, during religious ceremonies. However, the Church of Latter-Day Saints believes that it is both physically and spiritually unhealthy to drink coffee.
There has been a lot of research on whether coffee is linked to a wide array of health conditions, and most studies reveal coffee has no real specific health benefits; results are similar as far as negative effects of coffee consumption.
Some studies have suggested that the consumption of coffee is beneficial in some ways. Coffee appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, cirrhosis of the liver, and gout. Some health effects are due to the caffeine content of coffee, for benefits are only found in those who drink caffeinated coffee; others appear to be due to other ingredients. Coffee does contain antioxidants, which prevent cell damage.
Coffee has negative health effects associated with it, most connected with its caffeine content. Research suggests that drinking caffeinated coffee can cause a temporary increase in the stiffening of arterial walls. Excess coffee consumption may lead to a magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesemia.
So coffee is not really a health drink, but for the most part I'd would say it's an addiction. The people who don't drink it regularly probably wouldn't go for a cup straight-up when they get the craving. I will just continue to stay away from the stuff and stick with my glasses of water and juice.
Coffee Health Benefits
- Coffee - Kitchen Dictionary - Food.com
Learn about coffee in the Kitchen Dictionary - Food.com: Talk with your mouth full
- Coffee Review - The World's Leading Coffee Guide
- Health Benefits of Coffee - WebMD
WebMD discusses the health benefits of coffee and possible risks for those with certain conditions.
- Coffee and health: What does the research say? - MayoClinic.com
- Coffee Health Risks - Harvard Health Publications
Coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease.