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The Daily Dose: Coffee

Ahhh.. coffee. Nothing like boiling hot lava bean juice in the morning to jump-start your nerves like a dead battery. We all know that caffeine stimulates our brain and nervous system to feel more alert and awake during the day. Many of us rely on caffeine to zap our Frankenstein body into a functional human being. Sleeping as little as possible and running on exhausted fumes has become an American tradition. But your americano doesn’t have to make you feel like an electrocuted zombie. Coffee can give you a healthy spark without burning out your fuse.

Coffee is ancient, dating back to the early 15th century in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. But it’s alive and well throughout the world today, fueling the busy business executive to the casual tattooed barista. Coffee is on the sliding scale of positive benefits and negative drawbacks. One cup of Jo can give you a nice dose of endorphins and blood adrenaline levels. Coffee also lowers your adenosine levels, the compound that relaxes the brain and makes you feel more tired. It’s also a quick fix, racing straight to your bloodstream in just 20 minutes. Coffee boosts your metabolism and fat burning by stimulating your central nervous system. Evidence shows that daily consumption of between 100-400 mg of coffee protects against heart disease and diabetes. Even your liver, skin, and gut can benefit from coffee with its many antioxidants. The downside is that if you treat caffeine like a life-supporting I.V., you may start to experience some adverse side effects. A wholesome cup of coffee should also be fresh and natural, with moderate amounts of sugar and fat.

What comes up must come down. Drinking coffee throughout the day elevates your energy and mood, but too much can quickly bring you down and leave you feeling tired and burned out. Your energy should come from proper diet and exercise, and coffee should only be a supplement. Don’t skip out on sleep! Give your caffeine intake a curfew before the evening comes. Stick to your local coffee shop or make your brew from home. Stay away from “coffee drinks” that come loaded with sugar, fat, and ingredients that might turn you into the living dead. Whether you like your coffee black or with sugar and milk, on the rocks or piping hot, or somehow a magical unicorn flavor from Starbucks, coffee makes the world go round.