Here’s a bit of fascinating news for coffee drinkers. We love it for the taste, and the feelings of being more alert we get. New research has found that, surprisingly, coffee can also be good for the heart. Who would have thought it? We all know there are addictive properties to the caffeine in coffee, but the jump-start it gives our bodies makes that easy to ignore. Not many who drink coffee on a daily (hourly?) basis realize there may in fact be health benefits to that macchiato, cappuccino, flat white, long black, latte, espresso you enjoy.
There has been research over the years showing both positive, and negative, effects on the body after drinking coffee. This might be explained by the lack of consistency in the coffee we’re all drinking. There are different roasts, species and varieties of coffee beans and all of them have different amounts of caffeine and other components. There’s also the impact of adding sugar, sugar syrups, cream or milk as well as the sizes of the cups that become a part of the equation.
Of late there’s been a lot of change in the debate over if coffee is good or bad for you. A Harvard School of Public Health study has found no link between coffee and mortality. Even if you drink up to six cups a day, there’s no higher risk of death from any cause. This fits into the research picture that seems to be emerging over the past few years.
Coffee is one of the complex flavor profiles there is; it has double the flavor range of many wines. The chemical structure of coffee actually provides you more flavors, and it’s loaded with caffeine, which wakes you up and has you ready to go. Experts do warn about drinking too much, an 8-ounce (225ml w/ 100mg of caffeine) cup was used in the Harvard study, not the 16-ounce (450ml w/ 330mg of caffeine) one you get in a large coffee at a coffee shop.
Coffee has also been shown to have no impact on the many forms of arterial cardiovascular disease, arrhythmia or heart insufficiency. There’s even an association between coffee drinking and a reduction in the incidence of both diabetes and liver disease. There may be protection for Parkinson’s disease and benefits to mental health due to the social interaction of getting and drinking the beverage. Unlike alcohol that leaves people lethargic, coffee switches us on.
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Which Coffee Is Good For You? Continued…
Other studies have found some beneficial substances in coffee, most recently in Greek style coffee. Research appearing in the Vascular Medicine Journal found that the coffee intake of elderly subjects on the Greek island of Ikaria was associated with a drop in one risk factor for heart disease. Greek coffee is brewed in a stovetop pot (briki) and is rather strong, with lots of heavy foam and can be brewed along with sugar to increase the sweetness. It’s served with a glass of water.
This type of coffee has been found to have high amounts of some important anti-inflammatory compounds. Brewed coffee has the most caffeine at 135mg per 8 ounces, while filtered coffee has 112mg of caffeine and percolated just 74mg of caffeine for the same 8 ounce serving. Seemingly how your coffee is brewed impacts the substances in the cup.
The good news on coffee goes further than that. The drink has been identified as one that’s a natural source of antioxidants, those helpful little substances that stop molecules from oxidizing and producing dangerous free radicals. There is also research to support women who drink two (or more) cups of coffee a day being less apt to have symptoms of depression than those who don’t drink this much coffee.
So, there’s a lot to learn. Enjoy your coffee, but as in all things, use moderation. It should not be your primary source of fluids.
To your good health,