By Emily Simpson | Contributor

Coffee is…

Finishing that simple phrase can be emotional for some, being that coffee is a nectar of life, and the caffeine in coffee has become the drug of choice for so many. Surprisingly enough, coffee consumption was an oddity in the New World until after 1773, the year of the Boston Tea Party. Until then, there was not a heavy emphasis on any beverage, with the exception of tea. Taxation led Americans to drink coffee, but the physical, mental and emotional benefits of this enchanting liquid caused it to become a staple of everyday life. Now, it is hard to imagine the American lifestyle absent of the local baristas that keep people caffeinated, and the dietitians who study coffee specifically to ensure folks are educated.

With that being said, there are numerous reasons to start your day with a cup of joe.

Coffee is a wonder for a healthy physique.

Not only is coffee many Americans primary source of motivation, it is also the beverage we prefer to deliver our daily antioxidants, which are molecules that inhibit oxidation in our bodies and ensure that negative chain reactions will not occur. Dark berries usually come to mind when speaking on the subject of antioxidants, but knowing that coffee can serve the same function is a glorious and convenient realization.

A serving of coffee can warm more than just our hands. 

Blood circulation is impacted greatly by even the tiniest serving of coffee. Research has found that simply five ounces of coffee given to someone who drowns in decaf can boost capillary blood flow up to 30 percent. The main function of our circulatory system is transportation of nutrients, hormones and cells to combat disease. Therefore, the result of consuming a serving of coffee each day is a stabilized temperature, pH and overall homeostasis. This is good news to active bodies everywhere because oxygenated tissues are important!


Looking good leads to feeling good. 

In the past, coffee was not a key component of a healthy diet, but research now shows that our bodies love this liquid for more than just its addictive qualities. Coffee boosts metabolism up to 20 percent and works to enhance the benefits of a daily workout. If you’re wanting to build muscle, it is smartest to drink coffee pre-workout in order to stimulate fat burning and energy production. In order to slim down, a cup post-workout will continue to burn fat and eliminate storage areas of fat.

John Boback, barista at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters and dietetics aficionado, explained that there are even ways to extract coffee that are most beneficial for the body. So, how do we get the most out of our cup? French press is definitely never the answer. “The oily remains from the coffee that can be found in a brewing method, like the French press, can increase LDL cholesterol and can, in turn, be detrimental to our cholesterol readings,” Boback said. The alternative is to extract the coffee by means of a paper filter, using the pour over method. However, drinking espresso is always the way to go before a workout. The least volume of liquid, the better.

Coffee is a fundamental variable for positive mental health.

While the physical benefits of coffee are visibly noteworthy, the mental and emotional effects could be, arguably, more significant. When first consumed, the caffeine takes control. Essentially, caffeine is an adenosine-receptor antagonist. Adenosine is the central nervous system neuromodulator that, once bound, slows neural activity and produces fatigue. Caffeine binds to the same receptors as adenosine, but does not produce grogginess. So, we can all thank coffee for giving us that extra boost to have a productive day.

When talking mental health, the buzz words seem to be serotonin and dopamine. Overall mood is dictated by the seesawing of these two neurotransmitters among others. Caffeine plays a large role in the uptake of serotonin and dopamine. An increase in dopamine levels has a beneficial impact on disposition, and having a high level of serotonin can help reduce depression. Since it alters these neurotransmitters in this way, coffee can be considered a psychoactive drug. However, this is a drug that many people consider critical for daily life.

Coffee is…

Let us be honest, coffee is an icon. It is significant, splendid and an overall source of ecstasy. It is a stimulant that enhances daily functioning on all levels: physical, mental and emotional. So instead of wondering if one more cup is appropriate, just drink it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.