For many people, coffee is the most desirable way to start the day. In recent times, coffee tasting has become an art form much like wine tasting. This drink has a pleasing combination of taste with just the right acidity, body, finish, and aroma. That bundle of flavor and smell is arousing and tempting anywhere: at work, at home, on the streets–it’s just irresistible! Coffee’s benefits and drawbacks have been argued for decades, but lately many studies have revealed that coffee’s benefits might just outweigh the negatives. Here are some pro and cons regarding coffee consumption.
Antioxidants Coffee is packed with antioxidants, which curb cellular damage through oxidation, prevent the inflammation of the blood vessels, and have powerful disease-fighting properties, such as cancer. Polyphenols or flavonoids, the type of antioxidants found in tea, cranberries, red wine, and chocolate, are also present in coffee. If you’re looking to increase your antioxidant intake, coffee is a step in the right direction.
Prevents Type 2 Diabetes Studies have shown that the Chlorgoenic acid found in coffee can prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeine is known to raise blood sugar levels and highly increase energy expenditure in a short period of time; consequently, it increases your body’s insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of developing this type of disease.
Energy, Alertness, and Mood We all know coffee is a great short-term pick-me-up. But did you know that it also improves mental performance? The caffeine in coffee is a well-known stimulant that promotes alertness and attention, and it is known to increase information processing. Surprisingly, a Harvard study found that women who drink caffeinated coffee have a lower risk of depression than women who don’t.
Boost Metabolism Coffee boosts metabolism and can help with weight loss. That doesn’t mean you should just up your daily dose of coffee. You can safely drink one or two cups a day to help burn calories. This only works if you consume coffee in its pure form, such as Americano or Espresso, without cream, milk or additional sweeteners.
Coffee “Desserts” Every time you add sweet or fatty ingredients to your coffee, it basically negates its metabolic effect. A 6-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 7 calories, but a teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories. Cream adds calories and fat, too. If you are trying to lose weight, stay away from fancy frozen goodies, such as:
- Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha (580 calories)
- McDonald’s Mocha (400 calories in a large),
- Dunkin’ Donuts frozen cappuccino with whole milk (610 calories in a large).
Cardiovascular Disease A temporary rise in heart rate and blood pressure is common in those who are sensitive to caffeine and in those who have a sedentary lifestyle. This may increase the risk for stroke in people with high blood pressure and, in severe cases, could trigger a heart attack. People with high blood pressure should follow their doctors’ advice on whether or not to drink coffee.
Anxiety/Insomnia The amount of caffeine in a cup can vary greatly, depending on factors such as blend, method of brewing, and type of bean. Caffeine in moderation seems to be ok, but excessive use could be destructive. Too much caffeine can cause headaches, anxiety, jitters, and sleeplessness. If you don’t want to cut back on coffee, you can reduce the caffeine intake by using decaffeinated coffee or Arabica coffee, which has approximately 40-50% less caffeine.
Acidity Some people do not like the acid or sour note in coffee and claim it upsets their stomach. Both regular and decaffeinated coffees contain acids that can make heartburn worse. If coffee is not friendly to your stomach, you should buy a moderately dark to dark-roasted coffee. Dark roasting reduces the acid level in coffee and makes it a bit less bitter. Caribbean or Brazilian coffees are known for their low acidity.
It seems that indulging in coffee in moderation poses no real risk to your health if you have none of the above conditions and are not pregnant. Keep in mind that there are many medical conditions that may be affected by coffee intake. It’s best to ask your doctor if you are not sure.
Diet tip by Michelle Blaga, social media and blog contributor at Lucille Roberts.