One week, no coffee
Keep Your Eyes Wide
May 29, 2012 06:00 am |
It wasn't until the Friday afternoon did I really start to panic. The days prior had been relatively easy as I casually paraded around the office not under the influence of the remedy I've become so accustomed to since college. It almost seemed too easy and up until that moment, it felt like I could go without drinking coffee for a long time.
For someone who, on average, drinks between two and four cups of coffee a day (the most I’ve ever drank was six), perhaps my judgment was a little premature when it came to deadline day for stories and photos. Either way, I battled through and with the help of tea - lots of tea - I made it to my goal of not drinking coffee for a whole week.
I was encouraged by a co-worker at the paper who, a week earlier, had questioned whether I could go without coffee for a whole month … we compromised on just a week without coffee and starting the following Sunday, I was coffee-free. It seemed like an interesting experiment since coffee is usually a topic of discussion, more specifically whether Horton's or McDonald's is best, at the office. Most of us are hardcore coffee drinkers here, myself included. We even have someone who proudly claims coffee to be her only vice.
The no coffee for a week task was a test of self-control, but also a good excuse to do some research on whether or not drinking coffee is really bad for you and find out about its ill effects on your pearly whites.
I'll start with that topic and get the bad news over with, especially for those, like me, who had braces and are concerned about their teeth. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, coffee stains teeth. However, it says the stains can be polished off (some good news), but the sweeteners typically used in coffee are more dangerous for the teeth than the coffee itself. Apparently they feed the bacteria that create cavity-causing acids in the mouth.
One remedy several dentists on the web recommended was drinking or rinsing your mouth with water during or after your coffee to help minimize staining. Some noted that brushing your teeth around 30 minutes after finishing coffee would help as well.
Caffeine is probably the most studied ingredient in coffee. One registered dietician stated caffeine is a diuretic that stimulates the nervous system and temporarily blunts the feeling of exertion and fatigue “until the minute you crash and burn.”
Sixty-three per cent of Canadians over the age of 18 drink coffee on a daily basis, according to a 2003 study by the Coffee Association of Canada. It seems like there are reports published on a weekly basis that either go to bat for or throw curve balls at whether or not this is a good thing. Just a couple weeks ago, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that those who drank a few cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, infections, injuries and accidents.
But (there's always a but), the researchers of the report warned that the coffee habits were only measured at one point in time and it was uncertain what exact ingredients in java could be tied to having a longer life.
Another factor the report mentioned was that those who drink coffee were more likely to smoke cigarettes, consume more than three alcoholic drinks per day, were less likely to engage in vigorous physical activity and consumed less fruits, vegetables, and white meat.
The debate has the potential to go on forever. For example, some studies have shown drinking coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, while others say it can contribute to higher levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and cancer.
While these research reports and studies are good to take under consideration and learn how our bodies potentially react to what we eat and drink, we should all make sure we take the necessary steps to be healthy. If that means asking for a cup of water with your coffee, going to yoga/jogging a few more times a week, or leaving the dinner table knowing you could eat a little more, it might be beneficial to our health. Because if you haven't got your health, then what have you got?