You Love Coffee…But Does It Love You Back?


If ever there was magic in a cup, it’d be coffee. Think about it—it’s an essential part of every morning ritual, the best way to perk up in the afternoon and a great way to unwind at the end of the day (thank you, decaf!). And even if you don’t consider yourself a routine coffee drinker—like 64% of Americans—chances are you still periodically enjoy a fancy schmancy drink of some sort from your local coffee shop (who doesn’t?).

And while there’s no debate over the delicious taste and smell of coffee, there seems to be some uncertainty surrounding its health perks (or lack thereof). So, is it actually good for your health? Yes. No. Maybe so. According to some of the most recent studies, it seems that coffee can help to lower your risk of certain cancers, as well as Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes, while also decreasing inflammation and extending your life.

With health benefits like that, you should probably grab a cup of java as we speak—for the sake of your health and all. Now you might be wondering if coffee is so delicious and healthy(ish), what’s not to love? Well, for starters, the coffee breath (which is caused by sulfur compounds and dry mouth). But that’s just one of the many ways that coffee impacts your body and health. Here are a few of the others:

It may make you have to go number 1, number 2 or both.

Chances are, when you start your day off with a piping hot cuppa Joe, you’ll be heading to the bathroom shortly after. If you’re someone who feels like they have to tinkle more when drinking coffee, this is due to the caffeine—which is a stimulant—causing increased urine production (i.e. coffee is a diuretic). But don’t worry, more potty breaks doesn’t equal dehydration.

But if you feel the urge to poop after sipping your fave brew, this is likely the result of your body releasing the hormone gastrin, which is stimulated by coffee. With the release of gastrin, your colon activity is increased.  And let’s not forget that caffeine of any kind stimulates the muscles of your colon, too, leading to bowel movements.

It may impact your sleep (regardless of when you drink it).

While most of us know not to drink full-strength coffee right before bed, there’s still a chance that 8 a.m. cup of java may come back to haunt you at bedtime. That’s because caffeine stays in your system for hours and hours. In fact, it takes between 8 and 12 hours for your body to fully metabolize caffeine—regardless of how much you consume.

It (kind of) boosts your energy and alertness.

Don’t consider yourself a morning person? That’s why there’s coffee! In fact, within 10 minutes of drinking it, you’ll start to feel the impact of caffeine. But don’t be fooled, coffee isn’t actually giving you more energy. It’s actually just tricking your brain by replacing adenosine—a nervous system hormone that promotes sleep—and attaching to receptors. Adrenaline is also released, which helps to make you feel even more awake, alert and attentive.

However, if you feel yourself always reaching for coffee, you may build up a tolerance. Those same adenosine receptors we were just talking about can become less responsive to caffeine, requiring you to drink more (and more) to get the same energizing effect.

It may help to improve your mood.

Or the opposite may hold more truth: a lack of coffee can damper your mood. While there are many factors that can impact the way you feel in the morning (sleep inertia anyone?), there’s no doubt that coffee can make a positive impact on your mood. This is largely due to its stimulating effect, which increases the release of dopamine (a feel-good hormone).

It may help you to…

As if you needed even more reasons to keep-up your daily caffeine habit, but just in case, here are a few more: it may help to promote weight loss, boost your memory and decrease pain. But don’t double your coffee intake in hopes of boosting your health. The bottom line is coffee’s impact varies from person to person. To ensure that you aren’t fueling higher levels of anxiety, covering up a sleep disorder or consuming extra calories (thanks to creamer and sweetener), talk with your primary care provider.  

With knowledgeable experts, an extensive range of services and resources, and convenient locations, you can receive customized care with  Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care. 

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