5 Reasons to Drink Coffee

by Little House on 18 May 2011 21 comments
Photo: apes_abroad

My first memory of drinking coffee was staying up late with my mom and her childhood girlfriend as they chatted about life and memories. She handed me a small cup of that rich, dark drink, and I was hooked for life. My love of coffee was one of the primary motivators to apply for a job at Starbucks while in college; free, all-you-can drink coffee during my shift was enough stimulation for me to sign on as a barista for a few years.

Having devoted myself to one primary brand of coffee over the course of 10 years has inspired me to find ways to save money on my morning beverage of choice, like applying for a rewards card, bringing in my own cup for a cup discount, and experimenting with coffee drinks at home using my blender. Of course, I'm the first to spout off the positive benefits of coffee. Below I've outlined five good reasons to drink coffee. (See also: French Press Coffee: Step-by-Step Guide)

1. Coffee Is a Healthier, Less-Expensive Addiction

If you're going to be addicted to something, it might as well be coffee. It's a heck of a lot healthier than smoking cigarettes or crack. Not only have studies shown it can positively benefit your brain and make you more productive, it's a lot less expensive compared to other addictions. For comparison, a pack of smokes will cost about $5.75 and might last a day. A cup of joe made at home costs just a few cents; drink the whole pot and you might have consumed $1.50's worth of coffee.

2. It's Good for Your Brain

Coffee has been found to make people more productive and smarter, even if the effect isn't long-lasting. The chemical that's making you "smarter" is the dopamine, which stimulates the gray matter in your brain. As caffeine is released from your cup of joe, dopamine gets to work making you sharper and smarter for up to an hour. Of course, you can always drink another cup as the effect begins to wear off.

3. Coffee Makes the Future Look Brighter

As your coffee works its magic on your brain, making you more alert, it's also making you feel better. Dopamine increases a person's positive outlook on the future. I guess one could call coffee nature's anti-depressant. Another benefit of dopamine is it may block plaque buildup, a leading cause of Parkinson's disease.

4. Coffee Is a Low-Cost Beverage

Other beverages can fulfill the caffeine quota, but home-brewed coffee runs about .27-cents per cup on the high end to as low as .05-cents per cup. I would be hard pressed to find soda for this cheap, even when it's on sale.

5. Coffee Is a Low-Calorie Drink

Another benefit of coffee, compared to caffeinated soda or a similar beverages, is that by itself, it is a low-calorie drink. An 8 oz. brewed cup of black coffee from Starbucks has only two calories, something that can't be said for many sodas or caffeinated canned drinks. Of course, the caloric content changes the moment sugar or cream are added, but for those who like it "black," coffee is a great low-calorie choice.

One word of caution before you increase the milligrams of caffeine in your diet, switch from decaf to fully caffeinated, or go from a non-coffee drinker to a coffee drinker — some individuals are caffeine sensitive; meaning too much caffeine can cause heart palpitations and lead you to believe you're suffering from a heart attack. As with anything, less is usually more.

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Guest's picture

Wonderful article about the health benefits and costs of coffee. There really are a lot of health benefits to drinking a cup a day and it's definitely cheaper to make it at home. To cut costs, I bought a Keurig single cup coffee maker (with the ground coffee maker piece) to cut my consumption and costs. This way I get my morning "joe" without wasting any coffee nor going out to the local Starbucks and spending $1.50 a cup. All in all, each cup at home costs me less than $0.20 and the coffee maker paid for itself in 1.5 months.

Thank you for adding the disclaimer about the caffeine as well. I am caffeine sensitive but having a little each day helps with my particular illness. I cannot drink more than half-caffeinated or my heart will begin racing horribly. If the person is not normally a coffee drinker, they should really start with decaffeinated coffee first and then try moving up the caffeine level.

Thanks again! Awesome article!

Little House's picture

I've heard about the Keurig single cup coffee maker. I'll have to check it out. Lately I've been experimenting with instant coffee mixes in my blender.

And you're welcome for the disclaimer. I don't want to be an irresponsible staff writer. ;)

Guest's picture
Emily

Keep it in moderation. There's some research out there that coffee spikes cortisol levels in your body - yes, that's that nasty little hormone that promotes the storage of belly fat. We were BIG coffee addicts until we were introduced to Spark from AdvoCare. Much healthier for you, tastes great, and clears the cobwebs from your head in a hurry. While you're googling cortisol, google Spark as well. :)

Little House's picture

Thanks for that shared information. I'll give Spark a lookup.

Guest's picture
Guest

Not to be critical but aren't points 1 and 4 essentially the same argument. Also aren't 2 and 3 seem pretty similar.

And for a little comic relief, just about every addiction is healthier and cheaper than smoking crack (from mention in point 1).

Little House's picture

I'm glad you caught my humor. It's usually very subtle and I don't think most people catch it. ;)

Guest's picture

I enjoy a fresh cup of coffee every morning. I never really drank it much until a few years ago, and never understood all the fuss. I still refuse to become a coffee snob, though, as I make my own at home and use the stuff they have at work. No $5 a day habit for me!

Little House's picture

There are so many great beans out there, there's no need to spend much on coffee. I've now just set a limit to my own Starbucks addiction and am finding I can make coffee concoctions at home for much less.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks. I collect material like this, to pull out when someone declares self-righteously that they've given up coffee. Coffee is good.

Andrea Karim's picture

It apparently fights prostate cancer, as well? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13430219

Meg Favreau's picture

After reading that, I was about to comment "I love coffee, but I can't drink six cups a day!" and then I was like, "Meg...you're not exactly in the prostate-cancer demographic."

Guest's picture
Amy Saves

if it's good for my brain, then I want more. :P

Guest's picture

The elixir of life! Have you noticed the all too frequent "its bad for you" runs against coffee - always negated by the ever increasing health benefits claimed for it.

Guest's picture

You are preaching to the choir here :). Although I love hearing about your strategies to keep coffee costs in line (especially at Starbucks).

Guest's picture

Love it! I too am addicted and love coffee and am always one to share the positive side of coffee! Glad to have found someone else that does the same! My first experiences with coffee and my fondest memories are when my grandma would take me to our local grocery store and let me have a small cup of coffee from the free coffee counter :-)

Guest's picture

Coffee is a good way to stay hydrated as well!

Guest's picture
Hunter

Love this article. I love my daily Java too.

Guest's picture

I was never a big coffee drinker then, but ever since I had the chance to drink one, I loved it. I am a coffee drinker but not that much of a coffee drinker who drinks several cups a day. I only drink whenever I have to go on duty at night. Coffee helps me stay awake and alert. The bad thing though is that coffee makes me get palpitations and my hands shake.

Guest's picture
Guest

All can be said about tea as well.....

Guest's picture

Thank you WB! I love more excuses to drink coffee, and these are really good ones. Not excuses, but real reasons! But is it still ok if I drink espresso out and about? I spend a little more, but the flavor is just way too good to pass up! Are the health benefits and other perks the same for drip coffee and espresso?

Carmen Grant's picture

THANK YOU! Finally someone FOR coffee. I love coffee. <3