Kiyomi Appleton Gaines
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SHRM-CP, Nonprofit Culture, Writer, Storyteller
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The pleasures of a cup of coffee have long reigned undisputed. The heady and sweet aroma. The comforting weight and warmth of a familiar mug. The bitter and soothing taste. It's magical.

Growing up, my house always smelled of coffee. I remember aunts and uncles gathered around family tables, the air clouded with cigarette smoke, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and the laughter of old family stories. When I was 10, I started sneaking mugs for myself, feeling that I was mature and well on my way to formal adulthood now that I was in the double-digits. Still today, I have to have my morning cup before anything else can happen. 

While in the early 2000s it was on-trend to consider coffee consumption a vice, recent research has found that coffee isn't bad for us. In fact, the positive relationships we have with coffee can be really good for us. Here's why. 

A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that drinking anywhere from one cup of coffee (or more) a day has an inverse relationship with mortality. It also found that regular coffee drinkers are less likely to die from a host of ills, including cardiovascular disease, many cancers, disease of the liver, neurological disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and Type 2 diabetes.

The findings held even after accounting for age, race, sex, and behavioral factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. But, it's important to know, drinking decaf instead of caffeinated coffee didn't seem to affect health. Another reason caffeinated is the best!

Beyond the results of this study, coffee has several health benefits. It's made up of several combinations of nutrients, phyto-chemicals, antioxidents, and essential minerals. It has such complex nutritional value, it is now included in U.S. Dietary Guidelines as part of a healthy diet. 

Moreover, the ritual of making and drinking a cup of coffee is one of the few things in our modern world that forces us to slow down. Sitting quietly for just two minutes is known to increase mindfulness, which is associated with a host of beneficial effects from reduced stress to increased focus and creativity.

Actually, simply holding something warm in the hands has been shown to make people feel more positive, social, generous, and trusting, and to rate others that way as well. 

I must say, after reading all this research, I brewed myself another cup of coffee and drank in the benefits. Here's to longer and healthier lives, and the only thing that makes early mornings tolerable for us night owls!

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Kiyomi Appleton Gaines writes about work, life, culture, and fairy tales. Read more at a work of heart and follow @ThatKiyomi on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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