Coffee Is a Drug
Coffee, in many regions, is a drink favored hot or cold. Drinks like: Iced latte, Espresso, Frappuccino are what come to most people’s mind when they hear of the term “coffee.” However, those are just different types of coffee beverages but not the original form that is the Coffee bean from the Coffea tree. Most people think of the coffee bean as the roasted ones we see placed in front of the line at Starbucks or included in a coffee shop’s logo and it is. But in actuality, the coffee bean is derived from a form of cherry blossom flowers on the Coffea tree when they have matured (National Coffee Association, par. 1). Which is why exploring what Coffee really is, busting myths about the benefits and harms of it and whether or not it is really considered a drug is important because coffee is a universal source of caffeine that people regularly turn to.
As mentioned earlier, Coffee, covered by a cherry layer called “exocarp,” is a seed taken from a Cherry Blossom tree when it is fully matured (par. 5.) According to the NCA (National Coffee Association), it takes nearly a year for the cherry flowers to mature and reach full harvest potential in order for them to be picked, roasted, packaged and shipped to various countries around the globe. Now we know where coffee is originally from but what is coffee?
“The coffee grounds are mainly composed of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.” (Journal of The American Oil Chemist Society) The components of the coffee bean are not fully utilized, only the water-based compositions are used and the rest are thrown away or utilized for different purposes other than for consumption. To understand what coffee is, we must break Coffee’s components down and look at each one’s job separately: 1) Proteins: are used by the body to help us from becoming tired. And helps the body improve its immune system to fight illnesses and diseases (wise geek, par.2); 2) Carbohydrates: are transformed into sugar and is used as the body’s source of energy. It is what keeps us functioning throughout our lifetime and helps us perform our day-to-day tasks (Dr. Nitsi Desai, par. 1); 3) Lipids: play an important role in maintaining the body’s health (Erica Kanall, par. 1). Basically, one can say that coffee has many factors that help keep the body functioning properly. It also includes caffeine and antioxidants. But what benefits does coffee provide when we combine all of those components?
Before we make any assumptions on whether or not coffee is bad, let’s try to explore the advantages and disadvantages. The top four advantages of drinking coffee are: 1) It helps protect our brain from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and it helps reduce stress related issues caused by the lack of sleep (Kristin Kirkpatrick, par 5); 2) Drinking four cups or more of coffee a day can lower the depression level of people than of those who don’t drink any coffee at all. (National Institute and the AARP, par. 2); 3) It is a performance enhancer; it gives us the energy and concentration to perform any task in an improved way. According to The New York Times, “[Coffee] has been proven to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream.” This means that it has been scientifically proven to give us an extra shot of energy in our day; 4) Because of coffee’s antioxidants, it has shown that it is capable of lowering the stroke rates and heart disease percentages of average five-or-more coffee cup drinkers (Eating well, p. 3). A common myth believed by many coffee-holics is that coffee has more advantages or benefits and little to no disadvantages or side effects. But nothing in the world, including coffee, can escape the realness of life; every good must come to an end. Therefore, the four disadvantages of drinking coffee are: 1) Balance is key but over consuming the recommended number of cups can do one or more of the following (mostly in adults): nervousness, insomnia, diarrhea, increased heartbeats, upset stomach, restlessness (Christa Miller, par. 4); 2) Too many calories! Nowadays, people won’t just settle for the ordinary cup of black coffee. Instead, they want more cream, more sugar, more caramel, more frosting to the extent that it is no longer a coffee drink but a sugar drink. An example: A study done by Your healthy body website shows us that one 24 oz. mocha ice blended coffee with whipped cream and caramel frosting may have up to 5,000 calories (Christa Miller, par. 3) which leads me to my third reason; 3) A higher risk of developing diabetes (Molly, par. 3); 4) Dehydration (Lawrence Miller, par. 3). Most people substitute drinking water by drinking coffee instead because: a) Coffee tastes better, b) Coffee does include water c) Coffee gives them energy while water doesn’t. That is why average coffee drinkers should be aware that coffee does tend to dehydrate the body due to the presence of caffeine. Therefore, should balance their coffee-consumption with an equal amount of water-consumption.
Now, some people shun coffee away and consider it a drug. But a drug is defined as “A substance that has a psychological effect when ingested into the body.” (Dictionary.com) After discussing the advantages and disadvantages, Coffee remains as the elephant in the room; the thing that no one wants to discuss because this would mean that millions of people around the world would be “druggies,” including children, teenagers, adults, and old folks. Sounds ridiculous, right? Sadly, it is not. Coffee, just like alcohol, narcotics, or cigarettes, is considered addictive (Katy Chamberlin, par 1.). This is because the caffeine found in coffee makes it that way. Coffee gives the human body such a rush and burst of energy (basically awakening the body from a tired state) that we subconsciously want that feeling to reoccur. That is why millions of working Americans go on “coffee-breaks” everyday due to it becoming a popular drink (Katy Chamberlin, par 1.). Those breaks aren’t really a break from drinking coffee but a break from work to go and drink it. So basically, coffee does change your psychological well-being but only for a short period of time and has fewer long-lasting effects on the human body than other “drugs” which is why the idea of it belonging to the drug family seems absurd to some individuals.
All of the disadvantages and advantages only show that the disadvantages were the result of excessive amounts of coffee consumption. Just like objects found in nature, the more of anything, the harmful it becomes. That’s why less is more. And keep in mind that coffee affects people in different ways according to their physical structure such as: the height, weight, age, and medical stability. For example, it might take a longer time and more amounts of coffee to give an obese individual the famous “buzz” than it would take an averagely sized individual. After reviewing the advantages and busting the myth, coffee still isn’t the “bad guy” in this scenario. It is just a tool that we use to facilitate our daily lives but yet again we have found various ways to abuse it. But how it influences our lives and actions is all in the power of our hands or in the next coffee mug that we hold.
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