The Little Bean That Powers the World – Coffee Benefits

History of the Coffee Bean (and why I’m typing this at 124 words-per-minute!)

Coffee has been a regular staple the daily routine of human beings for a long time. So long, that its origins are steeped in legend.

The story goes that in Ethiopia, around 850 A.D., a goatherd observed that his livestock were exceptionally alert and frisky after eating a certain bright red berry. Inside those berries were coffee beans and the rest, as they say, is history. Coffee beans have traveled the world and become a constant in many a household and culture.

Coffee Smoothie

  • 1 cup brewed, organic coffee
  • ½ cup nut milk, hemp milk, or soy milk
  • Crushed ice

Place everything in a blender and give it a whirl, then enjoy.

Nutritional Benefits of Coffee

Scientists and medical professionals have studied coffee for well over a century. And what they have found, as with anything, is there are many benefits and few risks. It is commonly held that the benefits of coffee consumption outweigh the risks.

After taking a peep at Pubmed (a medical research database), I found that coffee has significant benefits and could even be considered a Superfood by some.

Type 2 Diabetes: coffee may very well reduce the risk of this disease’s onset. Why is not exactly known, but studies indicate that habitual consumption of this beverage significantly lowers the threat.

Theories include coffee’s abundant antioxidant power, and chlorogenic acid content (which reduces glucose concentration).  Oddly enough, coffee’s caffeine component is negligible in this capacity as decaf coffee shows the same benefits.

It seems the more coffee, the better for prevent diabetes. Researchers found that 4-6 cups a day reduced risk by 28%. And more than 6 cups a day reduced the risk by 35%.

That’s  in comparison to two or less cups a day. However, read a little further before you go jaunting off to your local coffee shop for your 7th cup of coffee.

Heart Disease: there was a 25% reduction in mortality rates for women for drinkers of 2-4 cups a day, the same study found.  However, more than 4 cups a day did nothing further to decrease that risk.

The study involved healthy women who don’t over consume alcohol or tobacco, and who are a normal weight for their height. Simply put, women who don’t consume coffee at all were found to have a higher risk of heart disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease: or any type of dementia can be reduced as a result of coffee consumption by up to 65%.

Parkinson’s Disease: a reduction of up to 80% was found. It’s still unknown why, but researchers think it has to do with the caffeine.

Colon and Liver Cancer (also Cirrhosis): ranges from 25% reduced risk to 80%. These results seem to be related to coffee’s anti-inflammatory powers.

Also indicated where headache relief, asthma relief, and cavity protection. The former are due to the caffeine consumption and the latter due to anti-bacterial compounds found within the brew.

Antioxidants: Americans and the Norse obtain their primary source of antioxidant power from coffee.

Coffee was found to contain more antioxidants than some fruits.  However, fruits such as grapes, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and oranges have additional nutrition that coffee does not. So keep them in your diet!

Coffee’s antioxidant power is also linked to anti-aging effects.

Weight Loss Friend: Coffee is exceptionally low in calories. An 8 oz cup of black coffee has only two calories. Adding cream or sugar mitigates the calorie friendliness, but a cup can still be relatively guilt-free if you measure your additions.

On the other hand…

High Blood Pressure: if you suffer from high blood pressure, it is best to keep a low roar on your coffee intake. Consume no more than 2-3 cups a day as more can increase your blood pressure levels dramatically.

Caffeine Metabolism and Heart Disease: a subset of the population, but a fairly common one, has a genetic mutation that hinders their ability to breakdown caffeine. As a result, two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in such folks.

High consumption: for the average person, 4-7 cups a day can cause anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, and restlessness in some individuals. It is best to keep coffee in moderation and stick with 2-3 cups in the morning. Coffee can also affect those who exercise at a high altitude by decreasing the flow of blood to the heart.

It is generally not recommended to increase your coffee consumption to reduce the risk of any disease. The increase could contribute to the development of other issues. However, if you are currently a coffee drinker, and do not suffer from any of the above, do by all means carry on.

Don’t feel guilty about meeting your friends for a cuppa – enjoy!

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  • Andrew

    THIS IS MY VICE!!!!! Ahhhh how I love coffee :-)

    Thanks for the smoothie recipe too. This will save me at least $4 from drinking a Frapp at Starbucks!

    • Lyric Kali