Coffee

coffee beansCoffee is the most commonly brewed beverage in the world. The image above was taken at a coffee plantation in a far off land, and depicts the berries growing on a bush that are later picked, sorted, dried, roasted, ground and then brewed. Along with chocolate gourmet coffee is one of my favorite treats.

Recent research is demonstrating astounding health benefits associated with both the caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee varietals. Most of us have heard of its antioxidant qualities, I have found that most people don’t know what that means.  I also just read that some antioxidants could actually be bad for us.  Also my husband reminds me that coffee can stain the teeth, which is the biggest downside I’ve come across.

One study that has just been published (March 2013) reviewed the recent two decades worth of research and summed it up relatively simply.

“There is a significant impact of coffee on the cardiovascular system, and on the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. Contrary to previous beliefs, the various forms of arterial cardiovascular disease, arrhythmia or heart insufficiency seem unaffected by coffee intake. Coffee is associated with a reduction in the incidence of diabetes and liver disease. Protection seems to exist also for Parkinson’s disease among the neurological disorders, while its potential as an osteoporosis risk factor is under debate. Its effect on cancer risk depends on the tissue concerned, although it appears to favor risk reduction. Coffee consumption seems to reduce mortality.” [1]

I also found more recent studies that were published after the above review, which supported some of its findings and furthered others. For example, coffee has been shown to slow down the development of type-two diabetes for women in particular.[2] Another study just found that restricting or eliminating coffee intake during pregnancy had no effect on birthweight. [3]

Decaffeinated coffee was recently shown to decrease hunger by triggering the satiety hormone PYY, while caffeinated coffee had varied effects depending on the person.[4] So if you’re trying to stay on a low-calorie diet and avoiding hunger, decaf may be your best friend.

A lot of these studies were only robust (yes that’s a purposeful pun) for people that drank more than three or four cups a day.[5][6] But that is still much more coffee than I can handle in one day! I know caffeine will keep me up late if I have more than two cups in the morning, or any at all after noon. So I’ll just sip away slowly and enjoy my morning joe all the more from here on out.

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