If you’re like most of us here, you’d prefer to start your day with a nice, warm cup of coffee or tea. Some of us like a little more caffeine and opt for a shot of espresso. Get rich, delicious options of coffee and opt for illy coffee beans everyday. Caffeine pumps you up and gets your body started for the day ahead, and while it’s certainly a good thing, there are certain disadvantages to it if not taken in moderation. All caffeinated beverages are surrounded by myths that either stop people from drinking them altogether, or turn a delightful morning into a guilt ridden beginning. It’s not as bad as people have made it you know!
Coffee is one of the most misunderstood and controversial foods when it comes to it’s benefits. There have been so many researches done on it, and yet so many seem to contradict each other. While its a common belief that coffee raises blood pressure, it’s also a proven fact that it’s actually good for your heart. So then, which of these well known facts are actually myths? Let’s find out.
Myth# 1: It Helps You Lose Weight
All those fad diets have led you to believe that coffee helps you lose weight. Well, guess what? That’s just a myth. Although caffeine in coffee does increase your metabolism, the effect is so negligible that it doesn’t do much in the bigger picture. If you think you’ve been losing weight because you started drinking coffee, rest assured, it only lowered your hunger for a short period of time, stopping you from eating more for a while.
Even though coffee does nothing directly when it comes to weight loss, it can help you hit the gym and workout more often. Research has shown that coffee can improve your physical performance and endurance up to 12%. Drinking a cup of coffee 30 minutes before exercise is all you need to do.
Myth# 2: It Cures Hangovers
Hollywood actually has a lot to do with this myth, where movies show drunk people drinking coffee to sober up. A hangover can never be cured with a stimulant. Yes, it might make you feel alert because of it’s stimulating properties but in reality, drinking coffee over alcohol can turn out to be even more dangerous. You might “feel sober” and find yourself capable of driving through the night, but evidence shows that your judgement will still be compromised, and this wrong decision could lead to a disaster.
A research conducted by The American Psychological Association showed that coffee can’t reduce the effects of alcohol in the body. Infact, it can make it worse. The study concluded, “People who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations.”
Skip that “drunk cup of coffee” and ask a friend to drive you back home, because caffeine certainly won’t help you.
Myth# 3: It’s Bad For Your Heart
Just because coffee can raise your blood pressure for a while doesn’t mean it’s bad for your heart. Infact, many studies have now found that coffee can actually protect you from heart disease. Leigh Tracy, RD, LDN, of Mercy Medical Center, believes that regular coffee drinkers develop some level of tolerance to caffeine, because of which they don’t go through all of it’s after-effects.
A study conducted at Harvard found that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day can actually protect your heart. Another study showed that drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee and green tea, can decrease the risk of getting stroke and developing other cardiovascular diseases.
One research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in Jan 2016, debunked the myth of coffee causing irregular heartbeat and palpitations. The research involving 1400 people tracked the heart function of its subjects for one year. Among these people, 61% of the participants drank at least one caffeinated beverage every day. The study concluded that there was no change in the heart function of the participants who had been consuming caffeine.
Myth# 4: It Can Stunt Growth In Children
This myth has haunted our childhoods and made our moms keep us away from anything that had coffee in it. Some people believe that the myth emerged from the fact that caffeine reduces the calcium from bones, but not only does this make older people more susceptible to it, the amount leached is so negligible that even a little increase in milk consumption can makeup for it. Just add two tablespoons of milk in your cup of coffee and save your calcium.
There is no scientific evidence that caffeine can stop a child’s growth. Coffee might fill them up fast and prevent them from eating more, but it does not stop them from growing. What still needs consideration is that like adults, children can have anxiety, sleeping problems, indigestion or change in eating habits when they take too much caffeine. This is because their nervous system gets excited quicker than adults.
Myth# 5: It Is Highly Addictive
Before we get into this one, remember there is a difference between addiction and dependency. Your addiction of caffeine can never be the same as that of cigarettes. Caffeine almost never turns into an addiction; what usually happens is that our body, over time, just becomes used to caffeine helping out in energy functioning. Caffeine stimulates the brain to be alert and motivated, accustoming the body to rely on it for this feeling. You might say, “Isn’t that the same as what drugs do?”, but the difference here is that the surge in dopamine induced by caffeine is very little as compared to the imbalance that other stimulants or drugs cause, which is the very reason why caffeine is believed to cause a dependency rather than an addiction. Experts say that just by gradually reducing caffeine over time and replacing it with decaf, withdrawal symptoms can be easily avoided altogether.
Having half knowledge of something can turn out to be worse than not knowing anything at all. All these popular myths not only stop you from reaping the benefits of coffee but also prevents you from having a good time. Coffee is, hands down, the most amazing and yet the most controversial food ever!
This is a guest post.