Coffee Coffee Coffee

So recently, I finished binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. It brought me back to my days after middle school when I would come home, turn on ABC Family, and just watch for hours. I feel like rewatching it now has given me a much better appreciation of Lorelai and Rory, their fast-paced banter, their over-involved references to pop culture, and their strong mother-daughter bond. (Although *SPOILER ALERT,* I’ll admit I had to stop watching before Lorelai and Luke broke up and she went off to Europe and married Christopher. Ugh.).

Other than a newfound appreciation for the amazing writing (before the plot lines got a little too ridiculous, true fans you’ll know what I’m talking about), I also had a new appreciation for the Gilmore Girls’ love of coffee. I can now definitely relate as I start off almost every morning by brewing three cups of coffee in my mini Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. I feel like I’m sleepwalking without it, and I think it actually helps my productivity and focus at work. But watching Gilmore Girls in its (almost) entirety has made me question the risks and benefits of regular, coffee drinking. Are Lorelai and Rory, and myself for that matter, headed for a lifetime of heart problems and doom? The answers may actually surprise you.

The Good:

  • Coffee contains nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, niacin, choline, and vitamin E, that work as antioxidants and help your body carry out many energy-producing functions.
  • Consistent coffee intake increases insulin sensitivity, or reduces your risk for high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.
  • Coffee helps protect against the development of Alzheimer’s Dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Consumption decreases the risks of colorectal cancer and liver cancer.
  • A study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found a lower incidence of depression in those who drank at least four cups of coffee compared to those who do not drink any coffee.
  • The caffeine in coffee can provide fuel that can be used in sports that require long-term energy, such as in cycling or running races.

The Bad:

  • More than five cups/day can lead to an increased risk of a heart attack or coronary heart disease.
  • More than five cups/day can also lead to an increase of cardiac arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation, both of which can lead to strokes.
  • Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause increased blood pressure after consumption.
  • Unfiltered coffee, like espresso or boiled coffee, is associated with an increased consumption of oily compounds, which can increase your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, and further contribute to heart disease. These effects were not found in filtered coffee consumption.
  • Excessive coffee intake may interfere with calcium, iron, and zinc absorption.

Interesting Facts:

  • Some people have an allergy to caffeine that causes them to experience nervousness, irritability, GI distress, anxiety, or tremors.
  • Coffee intake of greater than 3 cups/day while pregnant may increase the risk of miscarriage. If you’re pregnant and still need your morning fix, talk to your doctor about what’s safe to consume.
  • If ethics are important to you, look for coffee that states it’s “fair trade” on the label (same with chocolate). You can find out more about that here.
  • The world’s largest producer of the coffee bean is Brazil.
  • The largest coffee chain in the world is Starbucks, with over 20,000 stores worldwide.

My Conclusions:

  • If you’re already hooked on coffee, there’s no need to stop drinking it now! It has shown to have plenty of health benefits when consumed in moderation (3-4 cups/day). However, if you find that you consistently drink greater than 5 cups/day (about 40 oz), you may be at an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Also be mindful and try not to go overboard; avoid ordering coffee drinks with a lot of flavored syrups and whipped cream (like Frappucinos or Coolatas). These drinks contain a lot of calories from sugar and fat and therefore may cancel out all of the wonderful health benefits.

Hopefully Richard and Emily can refer the Gilmore Girls to a good cardiologist.

Don’t worry Rory, I’m only kidding.

And also you’re a fictional character.

Sources:

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1 thought on “Coffee Coffee Coffee”

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