As the world’s most widely used drug, coffee’s history is an integral part of human history. Kings have banned it, a Pope made it holy, and people claim that wars were both fought over and fueled by coffee.
Every culture enjoys a cup, and cities like New York seem to run on coffee. The most popular beverage in the world is a powerful antioxidant, stimulant, performance enhancer, pain reliever, and mood enhancer. But it can also cause insomnia, anxiety, headaches, and stomach upsets.
Coffee is both loved and hated, but is it good or bad for us? From a holistic point of view, should we drink coffee for its physical and mental benefits, despite the downsides? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
But first, a quick story to illustrate coffee’s profound effects. Not too long ago after a restless night’s sleep, I started my day with a 1/2 cup of Joe as I do most days. I then headed out for my morning exercise, slightly weary from lack of sleep. When I reached the gym I grabbed an espresso from the cafe. What happened next was something I’d never experienced before.
After working out with my training buddies for an hour (cleans, deadlifts, and rope climbs), I spent another hour pulling and pushing a heavy sled. One hour later, not feeling like I was ready to quit, I joined a tough CrossFit workout. Think 99 squats, followed by 88 deadlifts, 77 push-presses, and you get the idea. I felt like I had a never-ending supply of energy.
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