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5 Coffee Myths You May Think Are Facts

Coffee is rightfully a subject of great interest for many people. It might be the first thing they drink in the morning, and the quality of the brew can set the tone for the rest of the day. With so much attention, coffee is bound to attract a few controversies along with the praise it gets. It's time to bust a few coffee myths so you can see the dark liquid a little more clearly.

1. The Hotter the Better 
Unless you take your coffee iced, one of the defining characteristics of the drink is its heat. A few wisps of steam rising off a cup of coffee is as iconic an image as any. However, that doesn't mean that your beverage should be boiling hot before you take the first sip. If you heat your water for coffee with a kettle, for instance if you're using a french press, you may wait until the water starts to boil to remove it from the heat. However, EatingWell magazine said that's going a little too far. Above 200 degrees, water will start to extract more bitter oils from coffee grounds, and may even scorch them. It's better to keep water between 195 and 205 degrees for the perfect flavor.

2. Heart Breaker 
Anyone who's had too much coffee in one sitting is probably familiar with the jitters - that nervous, heart-pounding sensation that comes with too much caffeine. Even a moderate dose of coffee can induce a little excitement, leading many people to think that the brew could increase their risk of heart problems. A study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation Heart Failure found that drinking four or five cups of coffee per day may be detrimental, but that drinking two cups every day could actually cut heart risk by 11 percent.

3. High and Dry 
Coffee is also commonly blamed for causing dehydration. While it's true that caffeine can act as a diuretic, pulling water out of your body, it's also true that the No. 1 ingredient in a cup of coffee is water. Research published in the journal PLoS ONE found that the water in coffee easily outweighs its diuretic effect. In a study, drinking up to six cups per day was found to have no effect on hydration.

4. Buzz Buster 
One of the most common myths about coffee is that the jolt it gives your system is enough to sober you up after a night of drinking. However, a report from the American Psychological Association said that the effect is all in your mind. People who drink coffee while intoxicated may feel a burst of energy that leads them to believe that they're sober, but they'll still be under the influence. A cup of coffee may help you get moving the day after drinking alcohol, but the APA warned against mixing the two brews, saying that being wired and intoxicated at the same time could lead to some poor decisions.

5. Up All Night 
So coffee doesn't dehydrate you, damage your heart or help you shake off intoxication, but it must make it harder to sleep, right? It turns out that this mother of all coffee myths is true only if you're drinking late into the night. Coffee only stays in most people's bodies for six hours at the most, so any coffee you drink before midafternoon is unlikely to have any effect on sleep. However, people with sleep problems tend to process caffeine more slowly, according to Active, so it may be worth it to limit caffeine to the early morning if you're having trouble falling asleep.