By: Callie Kim
Photos by: Caroline Geithner
I’ll admit it: I live off of coffee. Coffee jumpstarts my day. It powers me through midterms and finals. It drains my flex dollars. It goes into my smoothies. It helps me rally. But constantly pouring this substance into my body sometimes leaves me wondering, is this actually good for me? If you’re a coffee fiend like myself, I have some news that will make you feel better about your borderline addiction.
Turns out, there are loads of health benefits to drinking up to 4 cups of coffee a day. You heard me right—four cups! (Don’t believe me? Just ask the FDA.) Though sleep deprivation may be the enemy of college students, the benefits of coffee go beyond simply keeping us awake throughout the day. Keep reading to discover some key health benefits of coffee and why they are relevant to us as college students.
Coffee Makes You Smarter
Caffeine stimulates the brain by blocking the effects of Adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This improves your alertness, concentration, short-term recall, and memory. Unfortunately, many college students turn to “study drugs” when they need to crank out a paper or cram for an exam, which can have serious and long-term consequences. The healthier (and legal) alternative? Coffee. Next time you lock yourself in Lau, head over to Midnight to fuel and enhance your study sesh.
Coffee Boosts Your Metabolism
The innumerable restaurants and eateries around Georgetown and DC are both a blessing and a curse. Pair them with late-night Epi and it’s no surprise that many of us fall victim to the Freshman 15. Fortunately, coffee can help combat unwanted weight-gain by boosting your metabolism by 10 to 20%. To really boost your metabolism, drink a cup of coffee before hitting Yates and you’ll increase your calorie burn for up to three hours after you finish your workout. Coffee can also enhance your workout because it decreases your perceived level of exertion, which makes you push yourself harder during your workout.
Coffee Makes You Happier and Can Lower Your Risk of Depression
When caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter Adenosine, it stimulates the production of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which both improve your mood and increase levels of happiness. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, financial worries, and pressures from school, work, friends, and family create the perfect storm that causes many college students to suffer from depression. A study found that people who had up to 4 cups of a coffee a day lowered their risk for depression by up to 20%.
Editor’s note: Coffee is NOT a solution to depression. If you or a loved one are suffering from depression there are many campus resources such as CAPS which may be able to help.
Coffee Protects Your Liver
All Hoyas drink responsibly, right? But on a serious note, studies show that coffee can prevent liver diseases such as fatty liver disease and hepatitis, as well as protect against cirrhosis of the liver. People who drank four cups of coffee a day saw an 80% decrease in their risk for cirrhosis of the liver, which occurs when the organ becomes damaged from scar tissue.
Remember: Everything in MODERATION
Of course, too much of anything, even a good thing, is not good. This article is not the green light to start chugging absurd amounts of coffee every day, but I hope it’ll make you coffee addicts (like myself) feel less guilty and learn that our sometimes-excessive coffee intake can actually improve our well-being.