Let’s start with the measurable contributions coffee adds to your daily routine. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants, which are linked to decreasing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. Coffee is the leading source of antioxidants in the American diet—nearly 64% of us drink it which leads to nearly 400 million cups consumed daily. One antioxidant, Chlorogenic Acid, is found almost exclusively in coffee and is thought to aid in preventing heart disease. Drinking your morning coffee has also been shown to aid in lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s (JAMA Intern Med. 2018). Now, just like most great things in life, moderation is key. Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee.
Now that we know coffee has physiological benefits, let’s recognize its HUGE potential for psychological benefits. Coffee can be a catalyst to build, create and strengthen relationships with family, friends, and a community. Coffee allows for a simple conversation, connecting people with other people, creating relationships that are linked to a happier, healthier, and more socially connected life. Isolated individuals, said to have less social connection, have been more highly associated with depression and cognitive decline. Do you want to live to be 100? Louis Cozolino, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and author of Timeless: Nature’s Formula for Health and Longevity, correlates people who lead extraordinarily long lives with close community ties to others. Cozolino notes that centenarians tend to be more extraverted witha higher morale.
So the next time you think about connecting with a friend, don’t just send them a text, tweet or facebook message. Invite them for a sit-down, face to face conversation over a cup of coffee. Or the next time you are sitting in a coffee shop, skip the phone, take out the earbuds, and strike up a conversation with someone next to you. It might be slightly awkward at first, but they just might turn out to be your Superhero!