On behalf of International Coffee Day, quaint neighborhood cafes and bustling booming franchises alike hook coffee-lovers up with a free cup of the second highest consumed beverage. Keurig coffee makers will take the day off for owners who elect to stand in line for a cup on the house. Because people are accustomed to paying an average of five dollars a cup for their favorite brand of coffee, standing in line might not sound like a bad idea. Coffee, on the other hand, could be.
Several health concerns are associated with excessive coffee consumption. Issues can arise from preparation methods, additives, and the actual coffee bean. There are, however, ways to minimize health threats. Filtering coffee beans is a way to avoid high cholesterol. Cholesterol levels can increase in some individuals who consume unfiltered coffee. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, boiled coffee beans contain kahweol and cafestol which increase cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol). Filtering the beans when brewing coffee removes kahweol and cafestol.
Coffee drinkers sometimes experience energy boosts due to caffeine. It does, however, raise normal blood levels. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of caffeine than others, namely people with high blood pressure. Limiting coffee consumption and abstaining from drinking coffee before vigorous exercise and physical labor helps to prevent further blood pressure elevation.
Caffeine increases urine production. As a diuretic, caffeine can put consumers at risk of dehydration. Pairing coffee with vigorous exercise or arid climate increases the likelihood of dehydration. By supplementing coffee with water or other caffeine-free beverages, hydration can be sustained.
Serious coffee drinkers are known to consume about four cups of coffee per day. Homocysteine levels in the blood raises with excessive coffee consumption. Homocysteine is a risk factor for such cardiovascular diseases as stroke, heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. Four or more cups of coffee per day can measurably raise homocysteine levels.
Drinking coffee does have benefits which may be why many will seek the hook up on coffee for International Coffee Day. Coffee, for one, provides stimulation. Caffeine blocks an Adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter causing norepinephrine and dopamine to increases. The neuron stimulation that results is one of the ways brain function – i.e. memory, mood, energy, reaction time, general cognitive function – improves.
Every commercial fat burning supplement has caffeine in it. Caffeine burns fat as it increases metabolism. Long-term consumption, however, diminishes those effects. Drinking coffee positively correlates to reductions in the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Currently affecting 300 million people, Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars due to the inability to secrete insulin.
Franchises have varying promotions for International Coffee Day. At participating locations, McDonalds (for breakfast only) and Krispy Kreme offered free small coffees. Dunkin’ Donuts gave free medium cups of their newest coffee blend. Tim Horton, in scavenger hunt fashion, is hiding $9,000 in cash and gift cards near restaurants across the United States. Starbucks offered free samples until noon.
There are both risks and benefits of coffee consumption. Perhaps it is needed to function on a daily basis or refocus after a stressful first half of the day. Maybe it will come in handy for the ride home from work. Either way, there is still time left in the day to hook up with friends and partake in International Coffee Day.
By Charice Long