What exactly is in your cup of Joe? Vitamins, minerals and even antioxidants fill the brim and can protect against Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and certain liver disorders.
Some compounds, such as flavonoids with antioxidant effects, can further protect the heart, according to Medical Director Dr. Steven Radi of the Lauderdale Center for Student Health & Counseling.
And then there’s caffeine. Sure, it provides that energy jolt that college students seek out. It’s a necessity, really – a constant choice between caffeine and sleep.
But as Radi warns, caffeine can have a powerful effect. Like any drug – and let’s remember that caffeine is indeed a drug –overdosing can cause side effects. The experience is similar to a panic attack: uneasiness, discomfort, palpitations and elevated heart rate and blood
Doesn’t sound too bad? Radi is aware of students from across the nation dying from caffeine overdose.
In Geneseo, while less dramatic, Radi has seen some instances of caffeinism.
Knowing your personal tolerance for coffee can help gauge how much is an appropriate amount to consume daily. Take note of the time of consumption, Radi said, as it may affect sleep patterns. But also keep in mind that college students already have a varied sleep schedule.
Be mindful of signs of irritation, too, such as abdominal pain and stomachaches. Radi said most people don’t experience those types of discomfort after drinking coffee, though.
You do have other options besides coffee, too. If you’re looking for a hot drink to replace your morning brew, but one that contains less caffeine, tea is an alternative. Most teas have less caffeine than generic brewed coffee, let alone Starbucks coffee or lattes. Those drinks are another problem: Full of sugar and topped with whipped cream, the “caloric load can be tremendous,” Radi said.
But nothing is as bad as energy drinks. While they do work, Radi advised against the small, yet highly concentrated drinks. It isn’t uncommon, he said, to see some side effects of caffeinism after consuming energy drinks.
Regardless of your drink of choice, and as finals roll through, remember to drink responsibly – coffee, that is.