Throughout much of the world, coffee has evolved into something more significant than just a routine morning beverage. It is also has social significance. “Coffee” is always a good excuse to go out with friends and enjoy an brief afternoon break. While coffee is good all by itself, we seem to enjoy coffee even more when we drink it with someone else.
Coffee has been enjoyed by millions of people for at least a thousand years. As we are all well aware, the main chemical stimulant in coffee is a caffeine, which is a mild stimulant. It has been proven that in addition to being a stimulant, caffeine also helps to improve our ability to concentrate, it makes us more alert, and it has been used by atheletes to improve both their physical and mental focuses and performances.
Although a stimulant, coffee (caffeine) is not a drug that leads to physical dependency, and there are no known cases of the “abuse” that can be typical of many other drugs.
And studies have shown no negative effects of coffee on the fetus during pregnancy. Interestingly, and despite this fact, the Food Standards Agency in the UK has issued regulations that suggest that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to 300 mg per day.
An average cup of regular coffee contains about 85 mg of caffeine, so this recommendation translates to a little less than four cups per day. If you have any concerns about getting too much caffeine, you should consider switching to espresso. Espresso is much lower in caffeine than regular drip coffee.
On the positive side, it has been proven that coffee drinking help persons who suffer from asthma by improving their circulation, and dilating the airways near the lungs. It has also been proven that coffee protects against colon cancer, and also against breast cancer in males. Coffee even can protect against the development kidney stones, because it is a mild diuretic. Coffee is known to improve digestion, and to help prevent constipation.
Coffee has been shown to slow the development of Parkinson’s disease, and is even helpful in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies also suggested that coffee helps protect against cirrhosis of the liver.
Coffee has also been found to be rich in antioxidants, which protect against the development of chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. At the 2005 meeting of the American Chemical Society, Joe Vinson (of the University of Scranton) presented an analysis showing that people who don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables can get a significant supply of antioxidants from coffee. The study concluded that the average coffee drinker gets about 1.3 grams of antioxidants from their coffee every day.
Caffeine also increases the effectiveness of many pain killers. For this reason, many painkilling compounds contain caffeine. Coffee also contains methylpyridinium, which is a cancer-fighting compound, and which is present both in decaf and in caffeinated coffee. Methylpyridinium is a compound that is formed during the roasting process.
As many college students have learned when studying for exams, coffee increases the short term recall, and to some extent, the IQ. Many students will drink lots of coffee during the last hour or two of studying immediately before an exam.
Coffee changes the metabolism so that the coffee drinker burns a higher proportion of lipids to carbohydrates. This helps to prevent muscle fatigue, and thereby increases physical performance. For this reason, many athletes will drink a high-energy caffeinated beverage immediately before games.
Yet other studies have shown that coffee may reduce the risk of depression and suicide for women, and that coffee helps to prevent gallstones and symptomatic gallbladder disease in men.
While a (very) few destructive effects of coffee have been shown in humans (among them, leeching minerals from bones because of coffee’s high acidity), the many known positive effects seem overwhelming by comparison, and prove to be good excuses to continue drinking the wonderful black drink.
...written by your friends at The Coffee Brewers