personal-pic-1Coffee has gotten a bad rap. Sure, too much coffee often has a negative impact (nervousness, adrenal strain, and sleep reduction to name a few), but there are some terrific benefits coffee has to offer as well.

So, grab a cup of coffee (if you haven’t had too much already), and join me for a look at the positive side of that magical brew that has been around for centuries. (Coffee originated in Ethiopia. Some say its cultivation began in the 9th century while others claim it’s been around since AD 575.)

Health Benefits

Coffee has a high level of antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients that help prevent disease. It actually has more antioxidants than green tea. It also speeds up metabolism and reduces hunger, aiding in weight loss. Because coffee is a diuretic, it also helps flush the bladder and prevent it from developing disease.

In a very real sense, coffee is a healthy energy drink. Many people even use it in smoothies. Step aside green smoothies and Red Bull!

Mental Benefits

Coffee enhances brain function by aiding performance and memory function. This enhanced brain function helps those who struggling with boredom or fatigue by giving them a much-needed mid-day mental perk. In much the same way, it also works as an anti-depressant.

In addition, but spending time having coffee with friends is also great therapy, perhaps equal only to the therapy sessions with my exercise partner. As expensive as specialty coffee is, it’s still way cheaper than seeing an actual therapist.

Nostalgic Benefits

When I was a teenager, my mom brought me coffee in bed every morning to help wake me up. While this likely created my coffee addiction, this memory serves as a pleasant reminder of the man ways my mom showed me she loved me.

Experts say the sense of smell evokes strong memories. (See “The Nose, an Emotional Time Machine” for an interesting read on the power of smell.) Whenever I smell coffee, I feel calmer, and I think it’s because I associate it with so many great memories created having coffee with people I care about.

Social Benefits

Coffee has long been a center of business meetings and social gatherings. Rarely do you find any such event that does not at least have coffee available. When people who haven’t seen each other in a while cross paths coincidentally, you often hear, “We should do coffee soon!”

My husband and I try to spend one-on-one time together often, and often that is over a cup of coffee. I have several friends with whom I also try to meet regularly for coffee, which really means spending time chatting and catching up with life.

The phrase “Let’s have coffee” seems to offer a comfortable way of saying, “I miss you and want to spend more time with you.” Even my non-coffee-drinking friends will “have coffee” with me, and we end up creating great memories as well as spending valuable time strengthening our relationship.

Consider Coffee Balance

As with so many aspects of life, balance is key. Too much coffee, and you’re constantly jittery and craving more coffee. Too much coffee can have negative health benefits as well (such as those already mentioned).

But, a cup or two, strategically placed serves to increase productivity and energy not to mention add tremendously to your social life and strengthen relationships. Coffee can actually be a medium through which your life finds balance.