By Taylor Godsey, Contributing Writer

“You are the answer to morning’s first light. You hold the promise that today is going to be a good day. You motivate our dreams-and power us through them- Dear coffee, we love you.” – sent to Starbucks Gold Members on National Coffee Day on Sept. 29.

To some people, coffee is a staple to every day and often helps them start off in a good mood. “I drink about 3-6 cups of coffee a day. It definitely has an addictive factor,” Luke Phillips, sophomore barista at The Hiccup, said.

For others, coffee isn’t a necessity to everyday life. Freshman Madi Morelock said that she could go “several days or weeks without having a cup.” The drink that now has its own holiday also has some health benefits that could help you in your daily life.

  • Coffee can reduce risk of death. According to CNN’s article “Is Coffee Healthy?”, the older you get, the more beneficial it is to drink coffee to increase the longevity of your life. Out of 20,000 people surveyed, those who drank at least four cups of coffee per day had a “64% lower risk of early death” than those who did not drink coffee.
  • Coffee may help you lose weight. Struggling with the Freshman 15? Medical News Today explains that coffee itself has about two calories per cup. Of course, to keep this count down, you have to limit the amount of sugar and milk you add into it. Focus for Health writer Laurie Powell reports that an 8oz cup of coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps your body regulate blood sugar levels and reduces sweet cravings.
  • Coffee can increase your happiness. Powell also reports that coffee boosts serotonin and dopamine levels. Gary L. Wenk, Ph.D writes in Psychology Today “Why Does Coffee Make Us Feel Good?” that the dopamine makes us feel more happy. Wenk goes further and says that the body craves dopamine, which is why “avoiding that third or fourth cup of coffee was harder to accomplish” after drinking one cup.

Coffee may sound like something you could drink your way to health and productivity but there is some fine print. Before you get in your car and drive to the nearest Starbucks, take into consideration the following risks associated with coffee.

  • Coffee can cause insomnia. In addition to helping you concentrate, it can also keep you awake at night due to its caffeine. A way to avoid this is to limit amounts of caffeine closer to the evening. LiveStrong reports that a study in 2013 published in “Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine” suggests you should not drink coffee at least six hours before sleep.
  • Coffee can cause a caffeine overdose. Natalie Butler, RD wrote in Healthline’s article “Caffeine Overdose: How much is too much?” that high amounts of caffeine can cause irregular heartbeats and seizures. Along with insomnia, other symptoms of caffeine overdose include dizziness, headache, fever and irritability.
  • Coffee can cause ulcers. The acids found in coffee can cause irritation in the lining of your stomach and small intestine, according to the article in Health Ambition “7 Negative Effects of Coffee.” The irritation can cause the lining to grow weak, which increases chances of getting an ulcer.

In order to get the most benefits out of coffee, you need to limit your intake to four cups a day, watch how late you drink it and count the calories added into your cup.

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