I have a love affair with coffee. Can't imagine life without it. The rich flavor flooding my taste buds as warmth envelopes my soul. That kick of caffeine that can pick me at any time of day. I need coffee first thing in the morning and want it at the end of the day. It's a necessity and a treat. But is it good for me? The answer is yes.

I did a little research in Women's Health magazine and found a few positive effects of my daily addiction. So I'll put down my nearly-empty mug and share a few with you.

Caffeine can improve your game. It can make you perform better. Without caffeine you're lagging behind, mentally as well as physically. Caffeine enables you to workout 10 or 15 minutes longer because you don't get tired as quickly.

It alters your body chemistry in a good way. Caffeine is a natural stimulant and 250 milligrams of it, about the same as two cups of coffee, will triple the amount of adrenalin in your blood, increasing your respiratory rate. Caffeine intercepts adenosine, the chemical that makes us tired and triggers sleep. And it increases dopamine which stimulates pleasure centers. So it makes you feel more alert and relaxed.

Because of that change in body chemisty, it makes you smarter. More alert. Your performance, whether it's sports or work, will improve with a little caffeine kick.

Coffee will not increase blood pressure in most people. If your BP is usually normal, the caffeine in coffee will not increase it. However, if you normally have elevated pressure, you should limit your caffeine intake. Your doctor can help you understand what's healthy.

It will not cause bone loss. There's evidence that increased urine output can cause loss of calcium. But the amount is so small that a little cream in your coffee would replace it. Don't let that stop you from enjoying!

Finally, caffeine is addictive. It's true. Your body will get used to the changes brought about by intake of caffeine. So if you suddenly stop drinking coffee, you could experience some headaches and irritability. If you decide to stop or cut down on the amount of coffee you have each day, taper off a little at a time, instead of stopping cold turkey.

Just remember, coffee is like everything else in life...moderation is best. If you feel your coffee habit is keeping you awake or making you feel ill, it's time to cut down. But coffee, in moderation, can improve your life and make you a much happier person to be around. I know that's true for me at least! Now...I think it's time for another cup!