I never used to drink coffee, I never even liked it. It tastes bitter, has a bad aftertaste, and it’s an expensive habit depending on what you order. Then in college, I realized tea just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore; I needed something stronger. That’s when I switched to coffee.

I’m already a hyper human being so I was worried about bouncing off the walls with too much caffeine. While coffee is an amazing energy boost, unfortunately, it will not give you super powers.To be exact, one cup of coffee contains between roughly 95 and 165 mg of caffeine.

There are a lot of myths surrounding coffee, like that it will stunt your growth, you can become addicted, or it will dehydrate you. None of which are actually true. However, scientific research has proven that there are actually a ton of healthy benefits, which we don’t noticeably see when we drink coffee! Here’s why one cup of coffee a day could be keeping the doctor away.

Coffee is a great source for antioxidants.

Antioxidants help to counteract the body’s production of free radicals which can lead to wide range of illnesses and diseases. When you think of antioxidants, the answer will most likely be fruits or vegetables. But in fact, coffee provides more antioxidants than any food group. One study ranked coffee eleventh on a list of antioxidant content per serving size for different foods. Personally, I like eating berries, but I need my coffee more.

Coffee is said to be the elixir of life.

Okay, so maybe not the real one, but it can help you live longer. In a recent study, coffee was found to lower a person’s risk of mortality, producing the same benefits across multiple races. Its complex mixture contains neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce risk for illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease.

Smelling coffee makes you less stressed.

I have always loved the smell of freshly-brewed coffee, but I thought it was because I had grown up around my parents drinking it. Now, research is telling us that it may not be the atmosphere of coffee shops which is making you so productive, but the aroma is actually more powerful than you think. Scientists at the Seoul National University tested this theory on a group of rats and the smell alone was enough to reduce effects of sleep deprivation, as well as their stress that came with it. So even if you don’t like the taste, you can inhale the benefits of its smell.

Coffee can increase your athletic ability.

It’s already known that caffeine helps performance in endurance sports such as running or cycling by increasing the number of fatty acids circling in the bloodstream. What was unclear until a study done by Michael Duncan, a senior lecturer in sports science at the University of Exter in England, also found that this applies to weightlifters as well. I drink it a few hours before going to the gym to improve my workout and give me the energy to go in the first place.

Coffee can prevent type 2 diabetes.

According to a report in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, people who drink four or more cups of coffee daily have a 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Keep in mind that this does not include any fancy frappuccinos or all the sugar you pour into your drink afterwards. I love anything sweet, so I would load my drink with artificial sweeteners which are just as bad. Now, I try to limit the sugar in my coffee to only a few pumps of flavored syrup. 

Coffee can give your brain a boost.

As a student, I definitely need coffee if I want to survive a late night. That’s mainly because coffee is a stimulant. Time magazine reporter Michael Lemonick confirms, “It allows you to use what brain power you have in a much more efficient and focused way.” Does this make you smarter? Compared to your sleep deprived self, I would surely hope so.

Coffee can improve your mood.

I don’t drink coffee just for practical reasons, but it makes me happy to go out for a drink with my friends. However, there may be more to it than that. A study from the National Institutes of Health and AARP conclude that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day is 10% less likely to make you depressed. Not because of its caffeine, but due to coffee’s antioxidants, which we already know it to have a lot of. Drink coffee, and be happy.

Looking at all the things coffee can do, it’s much more encouraging than what we would be missing out on without drinking coffee. Once you start, it’s harder to wean yourself off, but you shouldn’t feel so bad about trying to anymore. Coffee is a good thing, so drink up!

  • Meghan Lannoo

    Meghan Lannoo is currently majoring in Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She gets inspiration from books, friends, and the outdoors.