One of the things I love about my job is getting to travel around the world and meet cool people like Chris. He took me to his coffee joint the last time I was in Toronto. It was an experience to be savored. And it was also an exercise in good health and continued sanity.
Coffee gets a pretty bum rap from conventional wisdom. It’s blamed for all sorts of evils. But most of the charges are pure malarky. Not only that, coffee is increasingly being identified as a downright healthy beverage.
Keep Your Wits About You
To get the ball rolling, consider the fact that regular coffee consumption may help us avoid dementia as we age (Eskelinen MH, et al.). That sounds good to me! And on a more anecdotal note, coffee can just plain make you happy. Enjoying a great cup of coffee with friends is a good way to wind down. And ditching stress through enjoyable activities is a sure way to encourage a long and healthy life.
I Take My Coffee To Heart
Coffee has also been credited with heart healthy benefits in a string of recent studies. Regular consumption of decaf has been associated with better blood flow (S Buscemi, et al.). Drinking 1-3 cups of regular coffee per day was shown to reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 24%. (Andersen LF, et al.)
Don’t Skimp On Your Cuppa Joe
If you want to reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, don’t be stingy with your coffee consumption. One study showed that at least 6 or more cups of coffee a day reduced the risk in men by 20%. (Lopez-Garcia E, et al.)
Geez, even I don’t drink that much… It’s a bit easier for the ladies to make their quota. Women peaked out at 4-5 cups per day and a reduced risk of 24%.
A Stroke Of Luck
Guess I luck out again. It appears my love of coffee may even reduce my risk of stroke. When it comes to the most common type of stroke, cerebral infarction, “Compared to men drinking less than 2 cups of coffee a day, men drinking 8 or more cups of coffee a day were at a 23 per cent reduced risk of cerebral infarction.” (Larsson SC, et al.)
A Tonic For The Maladies Of Civilization
The SAD (Standard American Diet) and the accompanying low levels of physical activity prevalent in our society are bad news. They form the perfect storm for the creation of a host of metabolic disorders which eventually lead to diabetes.
Obviously, taking care of the cause should be our number one priority. But it seems coffee can even help keep us out of the metabolic madness to which our habits predispose us. Six or seven cups a day could reduce risk of diabetes by as much as 35%. (Odegaard AO, et al.)
What's In The Other 98%
So what’s up with coffee. How is it that caffein is the new elixir of life. Well, you may not know that only 2% of coffee is comprised of caffein. And it may be the stuff that makes up the other 98% that’s so good for us.
For instance, it’s thought that the magnesium content of coffee may be responsible for some of it’s protective effects from diabetes.
Coffee is also chock full ‘o antioxidants. And the best news is, the roasting process — the very thing that makes coffee so delightful — actually increases the antioxidant effectiveness of these plant phenols!
Take It With A Grain Of Salt
No, I don’t mean your coffee. And if you want my opinion, take your coffee black, no sugar. That’s the only way to truly appreciate it’s wonders. But I do have a few words of caution…
Coffee is absolutely addictive and must be treated with the due respect that any such substance deserves.
Conventionally grown coffee is also one of the most sprayed crops on the planet, so endeavor to go organic as often as possible, especially if you consume large quantities.
But other than that, if you enjoy coffee — and if you don’t then you haven’t really given it a real chance — then by all means go ahead and enjoy your cuppa Joe.
So what's YOUR take? Do you like coffee? Do you believe coffee is bad for you? Can it be healthy, or do addicts like me just like to rationalize our love of the black nectar? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...