Since I was a little girl, I have had a deep love for coffee. My grandfather would always save me the last few sips of his cup – of course by then it would be very little actual coffee and more sugar and cream.

The smell. The taste. The desire for it would perpetuate into my adult years. Only now I sip Americanos or espressos with dairy free milk.

The debate around whether coffee is good or bad for you is supported by several arguments on both sides. In my experience, less is more. I am a fan of coffee and could not imagine my life without it. It makes early mornings tolerable because it’s warm and soothing. I couldn’t imagine catching up with friends at a local café or taking a business meeting without the presence of a cup of Joe.

For each reason coffee may be considered “bad” for you, there is a “but wait”:

  • Caffeine is acidic and can be associated with digestive discomfort including heartburn and indigestion.

“But wait” you can counter act acidity by ensuring you consume a high alkaline diet (including beets, kale, almonds and berries) and avoid coffee on an empty stomach.

Some of the acids found in coffee, known as cholorgenic acids, are antioxidants that may help lower your risk of Type II diabetes.

  • Caffeine in coffee increases cortisol, your stress hormone.

“But wait”, it also stimulates the release of neurotransmitters (like dopamine and norepinehrine) which can improve mood, reaction time and overall cognitive function. Coffee is also associated with a much lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Consume your coffee earlier than later in the day to prevent any disruptions to your sleep. If you feel you are having a high stress day, refrain from coffee, get up and go out for a walk or get a quick workout in if possible.

  • Caffeine is addictive.

“But wait”, so is sugar, alcohol and drugs! Learn to manage your caffeine intake. I would not recommend more than 2 servings per day. Since drip coffee contains up to 12 times more caffeine than espresso, you may want to opt for an Americano or espresso rather than that Grande Bold!

From a training perspective, I sip coffee pre and intra workout. Studies have shown that it helps decrease pain, improve circulation and offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. It only becomes a vice if you cannot and just will not give it up! Teach your mind and body to not depend on it.

In essence, my motto surrounding coffee is “use it, don’t abuse it.” Knowing coffee can give you that extra kick, use it when you need it most!

-Jenn

This is an excerpt from the article Coffee-It’s Good For You! which originally appeared on http://cocoandcowe.com/.