Today we celebrate the rising our Lord from the dead. It is Easter, a glorious day for Christians everywhere. As for me, with a small chicken farm, searching for eggs early in the morning is not a holiday celebration activity but an everyday thing, and as for rising from the dead? For me it takes coffee and a lot of it.
It was said that coffee was discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia in the 1500s. He saw his goats eating coffee cherries. Afterwards, he observed a change in their behavior. They gained a high amount of energy and they didn’t sleep at night. The herder shared his findings with local monks and then after they made a drink with coffee beans, they realized they could stay up all night and pray.
More often than not, you will find a responder that lives and survives on coffee. It has been my finding that this is true throughout the emergency response arenas but is even more prevalent in emergency management. There are arguments on both sides of the debate as to whether or not coffee is good for you, and as someone that could not survive a day without this nectar of life, I decided to do the responsible thing and research the topic so I could share some science and health advice here on the blog.
There is no question that coffee in all its many forms is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Some people love a plain black cup, while others prefer coffee with flavors and other fixings. Some love iced coffee, while others prefer to go the decaffeinated route. We will not be discussing the decaf drinkers in this post; only real coffee drinkers.
First of all, 3 out of 4 Americans drink coffee every day. 49% of those Americans drink three to five cups per day. Again, we are only talking about real coffee drinkers but if you are curious, 68% of Americans will not drink decaf.
Coffee has changed over the years. When I was younger, you did not have a lot of choices. Cream. Sugar. Black. 41% still drink straight up black coffee while 38% prefer a little something sweet in their java.
Then it gets weird.
32% of consumers purchase coffee from a coffee shop 1 to 3 days per week. A majority order shot-flavored latte. 39% unexplainably enjoy Starbucks the most (Sorry, not a SB fan).
59% of coffee drinkers believe that coffee is good for their health.
With the long and sporadic hours of emergency response, coffee can come in pretty handy at times like 2 a.m. when you are trying to watch the radar because of an impending storm or you are pushing a deadline on a grant proposal. Perhaps you just got back from the fourth call of the night and exhaustion is knocking at the door or it is 5 o’clock in the morning the second day of a wildfire. Any way you look at it, coffee keeps emergency response responding.
The good news is that coffee can be very good for you. Don’t let anyone tell you different. There are a host of health benefits associated with coffee. These benefits have been tested and proven over and over again. They are very much for real. However, it is important to remember that the benefits of coffee are only truly realized when coffee is taken in moderation. Abusing coffee can lead to a variety of problems.
The good news is that my coffee drinking can be good for other people’s health and well-being as I turn into a real $#*! Without my coffee, but this is hard to prove scientifically and is only supported by historical evidence and bite marks on my victims.
It is true that coffee can reduce the potential for diabetes. Studies indicate that those who drink four to six cups of coffee a day can reduce their risk of getting diabetes by as much as thirty-percent, as opposed to those who only drink a couple of cups of coffee per day. Now, if you are loading in sugar, flavorings, cream, whipped cream and other junk, you negate this completely. I also believe that if you ingest six cups of coffee every day, you will not only live a long diabetes-free life but you there is a good chance you will be wide awake to enjoy every day and night of that long life.
Coffee is capable of combating free radicals. This is one of the oldest benefits touted by coffee drinkers, and it is absolutely true. Coffee contains over one thousand phyto-chemicals, many of which are antioxidants. These antioxidants can work to prevent certain diseases, while also protecting your cells from being damaged by free radicals. Before you get confused, drinking coffee will not protect you at an Antifa rally. It turns out that “free radicals” refers to something completely different.
Free radicals and oxidants play a dual role as both toxic and beneficial compounds, since they can be either harmful or helpful to the body. They are produced either from normal cell metabolisms in situ or from external sources (pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation, medication). When an overload of free radicals cannot gradually be destroyed, their accumulation in the body generates a phenomenon called oxidative stress. This process plays a major part in the development of chronic and degenerative illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, aging, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases.
Coffee can improve memory functions (as long as you remember to drink it) and cognitive functions. Coffee has been proven again and again to do wonders for our memories and our cognitive abilities. This is truly where the rubber meets the road in emergency management or frontline response. If you find yourself better able to concentrate in the morning after that first cup, there’s a reason for that. Coffee cooperates nicely with the parts of the brain that are responsible for both memory and cognitive abilities. Coffee can also help with these things as we get older.
Of course, there is a downside to all this consumption.
Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline – a hormone which triggers a fast response. This fight-or-flight mechanism is great if you're being chased by a bear, but not so great when you're responding to a curt email from an angry customer. When adrenaline is released, your brain is put into a hyper-aroused state, causing you to circumvent rational thinking in favor of a fast response.
The caffeine in your coffee can remove your ability to manage your emotions and may make you more irritable and anxious. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that large doses of caffeine can raise your blood pressure, stimulate the heart, and produce rapid shallow breathing, which deprives the brain of the oxygen needed to keep your thinking calm and rational.
If you find yourself stressed out all the time, your caffeine habit may be to blame. In a study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, caffeine was shown to exaggerate stress levels in people who consume it every day. The effects of caffeine taken in the morning were shown to persist until bedtime and amplify stress consistently throughout the day. When an hour or two has passed and you start thinking you need another cup, you probably do not. Did you know that if your first cup is at 8 a.m., 25 percent of caffeine will still be in your body at 8 pm?
While there are some great benefits to enjoying coffee in its many splendid forms, there are also some side effects and drawbacks that deserve to be taken seriously.
Now, remember that not all coffee drinks are alike. If you’re the kind of person who wants the fanciest coffee drink imaginable from Starbucks, that’s fine. Just keep in mind that all the sugar and other components added to the more elaborate coffee drinks can dull some if not all of the benefits.
Coffee usage can also potentially lead to osteoporosis. When we drink coffee, we excrete calcium in our urine. The problem with this is that when we lose a lot of calcium, we open ourselves up to the possibility of developing osteoporosis later on down the line.
As a responder, what are you willing to sacrifice for the job? It is one thing to strap on a gun and protect a community or to jump into a fire truck to rescue strangers as you risk life and limb, but are you willing to be wrinkled?
Coffee drinking can give you wrinkles. One of the downsides to coffee is that even though it comes packed with antioxidants, there is the potential for dehydration, as well. Simply put, drinking way too much coffee during the day can dehydrate your body to the point of making it more susceptible to wrinkles.
Here is one that got me personally. Coffee can cause you to gain weight. Notice how coffee with a donut is even better than just a cup of coffee? That’s because caffeine highs can spike our blood sugar levels, causing us to crave sweets and other things.
Oh yeah…there is the poison aspect of it all… It turns out that many store-brand coffees are loaded with pesticides. Great, just great.
Well, it seems that after all of this fact-finding, I am going to continue to use coffee to stay alive and will probably die with a cup in my hand.
Hey, I found out that coffee is the world’s 2nd largest traded commodity after crude oil yet Hawaii is the only American state that grows coffee. We seriously need to start making wiser decisions as a country.
Historical documents say that in 16th century Constantinople, not providing your wife with enough coffee was grounds for divorce. I am pretty sure that still applies today.
As I have already made my decision to continue on with my coffee habit, you must now consider the fate of yours.
Remember, coffee beans grow on a bush and they are actually the pit of a berry which makes coffee a fruit and one of the more heralded food groups.