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Liquid sleep: my addiction, my adoration

By: Katie Gile, Staff Reporter


If there’s one thing that sets my heart dancing, it’s a strong cup of coffee.


Every day, I wake up, barely conscious, and stumble to the coffee maker.


The familiar, earthy aroma that only the sublime mix of World Market Italian roast and Maxwell House bold brew can create embraces me as my Mr. Coffee bubbles and hums at 7 a.m.


The heat and flavor permeate the house as the brewing ends, and I welcome my warm old friend into a favorite mug.


With just the right combination of sweetener and milk, my beautiful cup of coffee turns a smooth golden brown as I take the first sip, and I’m alive again.


I am a coffee addict.


It’s cathartic to say so, as I hear the first step is admitting you have a problem.


To tell the truth, nothing bugs me quite so much as someone jumping in my face to say it’s a problem.


I mean, my fellow coffee-chuggers and I catch a ton of flack about how “bad” coffee is for our health. But the facts seem to even the scales, perhaps even tip them in our favor.


The top “worries” are its capacity to stunt one’s growth, stain teeth, cause caffeine jitters, hook its drinkers and increase their blood pressures.


But many of these concerns aren’t as dire as the worry-warts would have us think.


Let’s take height, for example. Now, were I in junior high, when vertical growth was of the greatest importance, I’d gladly trade my cup o’ Joe for some soothing chamomile.


But as college students, many of us haven’t grown vertically since our charming teen years, so there’s not much growth to stunt.


While the vanity in me weeps at the thought of my teeth staining, come on. Simply following your java with a good brushing from a decent whitening toothpaste means your pearly whites will stay shiny. Visit the dentist a time or two. Seriously, it’s simple hygiene, ya’ll.


The same goes for “coffee breath.” Brush your teeth regularly, pop a mint and no one, save for your barista, is the wiser that you’re addicted to that dark delight known as Italian roast.


And, OK, caffeine jitters are an affliction I’m familiar with. But for me, figuring out how much coffee I could have daily without jitters was like figuring out how many drinks to have at a party to maintain a pleasant buzz without getting sloppy. It’s trial and error. You learn from experience how susceptible you are to caffeine.


Addiction is a matter close to me. Being an addict, I’ve felt the slight headache and anxiety when I go without coffee for a few days. Good hydration and a little exercise are all it takes to rid me of those withdrawals, though.


On a heavier note, it would be wise for those afflicted with high blood pressure to lay off the java. Coffee has been associated with hardening the heart’s arteries and as such, can prove dangerous for some individuals.


The more I think about it though, the more I feel that my near-obsession with coffee isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact, to combat the worries that accompany coffee-drinking, some studies are finding health benefits in correlation with coffee intake.


Some of the benefits include a possible decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, liver and gallbladder diseases as well as asthma and certain cancers. Though the causation has yet to be established, some of these benefits may be due to the antioxidants found in coffee.


Other, more basic benefits, like energy for 2 a.m. study sessions and a warm, comforting way to wake are familiar to many of my fellow students.


For me, time is a priceless resource and if I have a legal, non-prescription means to stay up and make the most of that time, I’ll do it.


So, here’s to mugs full of sultry, delicious, liquid sleep! God bless coffee.


Email Katie Gile at [email protected].


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