OPINION: The many benefits to drinking coffee

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What do you know about your coffee?

Does coffee really do for you what you think it does? Coffee’s health benefits and detriments have been a controversial issue for some time. Exploring coffee’s health effects and benefits is important for students because many of us form coffee-drinking habits in college that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Health Benefits

Although research is constantly changing, some things remain true. Coffee is rich in immune-boosting antioxidants, making it a healthy alternative to sugary energy drinks. This is especially important for college students who need something to keep them up so they can study or work.

Antioxidants have a number of health benefits, such as protection against several types of cancer and heart disease. The coffee bean is also known to protect against many health issues. According to an article published March 10 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled, “Can coffee be part of a healthy lifestyle,” coffee can reduce type 2 diabetes by 36 percent and can protect against liver and endometrial cancers. Coffee has also been found to reduce the risks of depression and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Providing energy

Most college students are not looking for decaf coffee. We’re looking for the punch of caffeine to help us get through the night to finish the paper that’s due tomorrow, so we have to decide between coffee and energy drinks. Coffee has a higher caffeine content than energy drinks. According to a November 2014 Center for Science in the Public Interest article titled, “Caffeine content of food and drugs,” a grande Starbucks coffee contains 330 mg of caffeine, while the same amount of Monster Energy contains only 160 mg. Energy drinks also have a high sugar content that can lead to weight gain and obesity if consumed in high quantities.

Cheap alternative

Some college spending habits are healthy and some are detrimental; coffee can fall into either category. According to an Oct. 28, 2014 Lazy Man and Money article titled, “Brewing coffee at home vs. buying in a coffee shop,” home-brewed coffee averages 58 cents per 16 ounce cup, while coffee shops average $1.75. Brewing from home will save you around $427 a year. Coffee is relatively inexpensive when brewed at home, you just have to take the time to do it.

It’s important to note that while there are benefits to drinking coffee when students need an extra kick before a test, drinking coffee heavily and regularly is not advised. According to an Oct. 2014 Science Direct article titled, “Impact of caffeine and coffee on our health,” bone loss, lower bone density or fractures (heavy coffee consumers) and increased blood pressure is all associated with coffee intake. Women who are pregnant must err on the side of caution and restrict their caffeine intake as well to avoid things like poor fetal growth.

Coffee provides many health benefits, such as antioxidants that prevent diseases. Coffee has more caffeine and less sugar than energy drinks and can be relatively inexpensive when brewed from home. It can save the day during finals week and also has long-term benefits, so drink on test takers and paper writers.

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