- Can this natural drink be this bad for you?
- Reasons to be cheerful this January
- The study that might make you think again…
Post New Year we are all looking around for something that can spark us into action after a few weeks of sloth and over indulgence (or at least that was what we did over the festive period… might be on my own here then!)
For many folk a daily coffee boost seems to be the pick me up of choice, but many worry about whether their habit has a health cost attached to it.
For others the commercialisation of High Street vendors and the global harm they do is another reason to avoid this natural stimulant – and this is a point of view I can easily side with.
But I should declare my personal interest at this point as I’m a fan of coffee, and dislike the general bad press it gets, as a product, even if I whole heartedly disagree with some of the big companies who profit from it.
So thinking purely of coffee as a natural, pure and wholesome drink I would like to go into bat in its defence.
Years ago it was considered an evil as bad as nicotine, causing headaches, mood swings, bad breath, heart palpitations and stress.
Yet as a regular Good Life reader, you’ll know that there’s mounting evidence in support of our old friend.
The caffeine in coffee is said to lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, headaches and even cavities.
It stimulates your brain and – yes – can RELIEVE mood problems. Studies have shown that caffeine can improve your attention span and boost brainpower.
So your morning cup of coffee not only helps wake you up, and tastes bloomin’ marvellous, but it has health benefits too.
I’m not suggesting for a minute that it’s a new health drink, to be guzzled wantonly throughout the day. I’m merely saying that a little bit of what you fancy can be good for you.
And I mean a LITTLE.
Experts say that 200 milligrams (two cups of coffee) is the optimal dose.
Don’t drink too much. I suggest you limit it to one or two decent cups of good quality coffee in the morning. Otherwise you’re heading for dependence and other problems.
I am not saying that coffee is good for everyone either for instance recent US research shows that pregnant women who drink two cups or more of coffee a day are at an increased risk of miscarriage.
So in the event that you are, or know someone, who is pregnant, this is important. Best not to drink any at all, in that case, I reckon. Otherwise, if you like coffee, and life’s a bit depressing this January…
Try a morning coffee ‘pick-me up’ and see what happens
Okay, so I’ll probably get a load of infuriated emails about this, pointing out all sorts of dangers and side-effects, but I like to stick my neck out with my opinions.
There’s only one thing to watch for…
When you’ve had your coffee, perhaps avoid going to buy a car, or talking to any double-glazing salesmen that morning. You might end up spending a fortune.
Pearl Martin of the University of Queensland in Brisbane claims that doses of caffeine can make you more easily convinced by arguments that go against your beliefs.
In 2005, her team published a paper. They suggested that the brain stimulators in caffeine improve your ability to understand the reasoning behind strong arguments.
It could make you more likely to end up agreeing with something that goes against your typical views.
To check this is true, go away and drink a cup of coffee….
Now come back…
And see how you respond to this argument….
The school of Human Movement and Exercise Science, at The University of Western Australia did the following study in 2007….
A group of students were assigned to either a caffeine, or placebo (fake coffee) group and they were required to attend a 75-min exercise rehabilitation lecture.
Seven days later, students were put in the opposite group to week 1 and again made to attend a second lecture, equal in length to the first one. At the end of each lecture, students completed a questionnaire to assess the level of mood state, concentration, and arousal during the lecture.
The results showed that after caffeine consumption, students perceived themselves to be significantly more awake, clear minded, energetic, alert. Additionally, they felt they were better able to concentrate.
Now, after your brain-boosting coffee, how does THAT bit of scientific evidence convince you?
Coffee (in moderation) = A.O.K, right?
Ah, the old Collins mind tricks! I’m like Derren Brown or an evil hypnotist.