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How a regular coffee dose affects you?

I clearly remember the day when I first met you. I was partying with my school buddies, we were having fun and then suddenly you mesmerized me with your undeniable aroma! It was love at first sniff and then when I looked at you it was merely a confirmation of your appeal

Every single day since then, I would either meet you in the morning or evening

And do you remember the aftereffects of our meeting?
I always felt elated, excited, motivated towards my goal. Magically, you take away all the grumpiness and laziness off my mornings

Our evening discussions, could not let me sleep at the night
Thinking, moving in my bed, thinking again

It took me a few months to understand the complexity of your nature. But by then I was already addicted to you

You made me smile when I was sad
I didn’t even need to touch you. You were around, and I could feel you

I am grateful for how you have changed me with
Every single moment that we spent together
Every single sip of life shared with you

As I write this piece, sipping my perfectly brewed coffee that has a bright flavour, with subtle hints of citrus and rich chocolates, I’m reminded of Tom Hanks’ line from the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail.
“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So, people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are, can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee, but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”

This perfectly describes every passionate coffee lovers who love to define themselves by the type of coffee they are holding.

Let’s start with the easy piece. Why Coffee? Or What are the benefits of the coffee?
A lot of these benefits are health related so wherever needed I have linked the research study. Instead of blabbering over the point.

Benefits of the Coffee

  • Coffee gives us more antioxidants than anything else
  • According to a study done in 2005, "nothing else comes close" to providing as many antioxidants as coffee. While fruits and vegetables also have tons of antioxidants, the human body seems to absorb the most from coffee
  •  Just smelling coffee could make you less stressed
    • Remember my relationship with the coffee? Smell is all through which it started. It might be a psychological effect but most of the times I do feel de-stressed near the coffee vending machine
  • Coffee could lessen the symptoms of Parkinson's disease    
    • ScienceDaily reported in 2012 that drinking coffee may help people with Parkinson's disease control their movement 
  • Coffee is great for your liver
    • A study published in 2006 that included 125,000 people over 22 years showed that those who drink at least one cup of coffee a day were 20 per cent less to develop liver cirrhosis -- an autoimmune disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption that could lead to liver failure and cancer 
  • Coffee can make you feel happier     

    • study done by the National Institute of Health found that those who drink four or more cups of coffee were about 10 percent less likely to be depressed than those who had never touched the java. And apparently, it's not because of the "caffeine high" -- Coke can also give you a caffeine high, but it's linked to depression
  • Coffee consumption has been linked to lower levels of suicide  
  • Drinking coffee could help keep your brain healthier for longer
  • Coffee may make you more intelligent
  • Coffee improves cognitive function
  • Coffee is great for workouts
    •  Whether it’s endurance, HIIT, sprint, badminton, resistance training, or almost any athletic pursuit you can name, a cup or two of coffee before your workout can improve performance. And contrary to popular belief, coffee does not dehydrate you
  • Coffee makes you active
    • Coffee has an obvious relationship with sleep: it counters it. The most common use of coffee is to stay awake. It can’t replace sleep over the long term, but in the short term it can mitigate the cognitive deficits    
Wait! Every argument has 3 sides – Your side, Their side & the Right side

Thanks to the self-help books, my friends and the naysayers of the coffee, I decided to experiment getting off the coffee.
After all, it’s an addiction and I don’t want to be dependent on anyone.

So, on one fine day, almost six-months back, I came to office and didn’t consume coffee. It felt awkward but somewhere deep down I was also happy, as I can owe my intelligence of the day to my ‘normal’ brain

Into the fourth day of my experiment, I started experiencing these headaches. By the end of the day, I was a total mess.
Coffee took its revenge, like the possessive lover.

And what it made me realize was the mistake I made to completely abandon it. Instead, it should have been a slow calculated and planned withdrawal.

Next day, I took a cup of coffee. But skipped the one in the evening.

Following day, I replaced coffee with green tea.

Next day, again I took a cup of coffee and so on…

This is how I cut down the consumption of coffee from 10 cups a week to 4.

This experiment made me realize few things -   

  • Don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning
    • Cortisol follows a circadian pattern. Right before you wake up, cortisol spikes to prepare you for the day. Right after you wake up, it spikes again, pushing you to the highest levels of the day. Drinking coffee when cortisol is high is somewhat redundant. A better way is to wait about an hour after you wake up to have your first cup
  • Don’t drink it to cover your sleep

    • Coffee does help counter fatigue and sleep deprivation in a pinch, but it’s more of an equalizer than a booster. And it’s not a good long-term solution for lack of sleep
    • Coffee works much better when you’re well-rested and those adenosine receptors are clean as a whistle. That’s when coffee truly shines
  • Think long-term
    • Stress will be always there in the life (and so will be coffee) but the kick from coffee won’t last for more than 2-3 hours
    • Which means, I got a solution for few hours, maybe few days but what about those weeks, months & years of darkness? Maybe instead of coffee, one needs perseverance. A thinking hat to walk us through the rough patch
  • Improve your physical health
    • Sometimes we need a coffee to gain physical energy. We felt charge up. But what we missed out is the test of our own natural capabilities. Coffee masks our measuring capability - How certain foods or exercise or routine is helping us (or maybe negatively impacting us)

However never talk to those people who say following things to you -
  • Coffee (without milk) Dehydrates You
    • This concept originated because caffeine, the main ingredient in coffee, is a diuretic, or a substance that makes you go pee a lot. The logic seems sound; the more you pee, the more water your body is losing, right? But that logic is missing one important part that coffee also has a water in it
  • Coffee sobers you up
    •  Not only does coffee have no sobering effects, it actually makes it harder for you to recognize if you’re drunk. According to a study published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, the wakefulness and awareness boost that comes with caffeine intake can make you feel capable of driving home when you aren’t

  • An Espresso Has More Caffeine Than a Cup of Coffee
    • As Coffee Chemistry explains, 8 oz. of black coffee has somewhere between 65-140 mg of caffeine (an average of 92.5 mg), and a typical 1 oz. espresso shot has somewhere between 30-50 mg (an average of 40 mg). So a serving of coffee has 2.3x as much caffeine as a serving of espresso, on average. That means when you order an Americano at the coffee shop, make sure you’re only doing it for the flavour, because you’re not getting more caffeine. You’re probably getting less
    • Yes, if you were to compare them by volume, coffee only has 8-15 mg of caffeine per ounce, and espresso still averages 40 mg per ounce. But wait, who drinks 8 Oz of Espresso

In the End
  • Even though coffee in moderate amounts is good for you, drinking way too much of it can still be harmful
  • I'd also like to point out that many of the studies above were epidemiological in nature. Such studies can only show an association, they cannot prove that coffee caused the effects
  • To make sure to preserve the health benefits, don't put sugar or anything nasty in your coffee!
  • If it tends to affect your sleep, then don't drink it after 2pm

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