How Do I Take My Coffee?
Seriously. Very seriously. Have you ever planned your entire vacation around coffee? (Check.) Do your eyes roll back into last week when your in-laws offer to make you a cuppa Joe from a plastic single serving pod? (Check.) Do you spend time arguing with yourself between the Peruvian or Ethiopian whole beans at the grocery store? (Check.) Do you salivate while anticipating that first lucious sip in the morning? (Check, check, check!) If you said yes to any of the above, I cordially raise a mug to salute you. We can be best friends.
Coffee. Wakey juice. Java. Joe. Mojo. Liquid energy. Daily grind. Mud. Battery acid. Call it what you will. (My personal favorite is Nectar of the gods.) It’s my daily staple, my mandatory indulgence, and unequivocally my favorite part of the morning.
As we waltz into a brand new year, it’s a foregone conclusion that most of us will make some sort of resolution that will be broken about the time the Valentine’s candy overtakes every shelf in the store. Want a resolution that is a cinch to keep? Resolve to drink coffee!
REASONS TO DRINK COFFEE IN 2017
- Coffee gives you energy (duh). Coffee and espresso drinks contain caffeine, a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Often referred to by the medical community as a psychoactive drug, caffeine counteracts the sleep-promoting neurotransmitter in the brain called adenosine. Put simply, coffee helps you stay awake, focused, and alert. Need to shine like a superstar at work? Coffee helps you focus your energy as you polish off that stellar report, close that lucrative sale, or stay awake while your boss delivers the drudge report on the budget numbers. Ready to write that novel? You’ll need plenty of brain power, and coffee can help. Tax preparation, downsizing, and spring cleaning can all benefit from the brain-boost afforded by coffee.
- How’s this for incentive? Overall, coffee drinkers have lower rates of Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and even type-2 diabetes! Multiple scientific studies in the last decade compared coffee drinkers to their non-java counterparts, and results showed again and again that the coffee lovers encounter significantly fewer instances of these major health concerns.
- If those health benefits weren’t enough, how about lower instances of stroke, heart rhythm problems, and certain cancers? Yep! Coffee drinkers come out ahead in these areas as well. More than 18,000 different clinical studies have been performed on coffee and coffee drinkers in the last decade, and though scientists don’t always know why the coffee is beneficial, the evidence is indisputable.
- Perhaps like me you indulged in too much eggnog and fruitcake over the holidays. Does your New Year’s resolution include hitting the gym and losing a few pounds? Coffee can help! Coffee is proven to burn fat and to increase metabolism, and black coffee contains a mere seven calories per six-ounce cup. Caffeinated coffee increases adrenaline in the blood, specifically epinephrine. Having a cup of good, strong coffee thirty minutes prior to a workout improves your body’s physical performance, and you’ll notice the results each time you look in the mirror.
- Say it with me: ANTIOXIDANTS. Coffee is loaded with them! Our bodies are constantly under attack by something called “free radicals. Free radicals are produced in the environment as well as naturally in the body, and the damage these suckers inflict include wrinkles, cell mutation, damage to tissues, immune system dysfunction, and more. Antioxidants like those found in coffee counteract the damaging effects of free radicals, offering protection and even improvement at a cellular level. (Nerd alert: if you want to look them up, the antioxidants found in coffee include caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, eugenol, flavanoids, gamma-tocopherol, hydrocinnamic acids, isoeugenol, p-coumaric acid, polyphenols, scopoletin, and tannic acid.)
- Coffee is a mood enhancer. (Tell me something I don’t already know!) If you’re anything like me, just smelling a cup of coffee chases away the doldrums and clears out the fog. Studies show that coffee drinkers overall exhibit decreased instances of depression and suicide as opposed to non-coffee drinkers. So pour that next cup, take a deep breath, and smile.
- Too much tequila, wine, or whiskey last week? Is your liver begging for a reprieve? Coffee to the rescue, again! Coffee has a positive effect on the liver, and studies show that coffee drinkers have lower instances of liver cirrhosis and cancers of the liver. Cheers!
- Coffee is a daily essential to me, and surprisingly enough, it contains several essential nutrients (see what I did there?). Small quantities of Riboflavin (B2), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, and Niacin are all found in coffee. Bye, bye, supplements; coffee tastes better, anyway.
MORE ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
While all of these positive facts may lead you to think that a gallon of coffee every day would cause blissful immortality, consuming that much coffee would be extremely unwise. (Not to mention that you’d probably be setting up camp in the bathroom.) Studies show that drinking five or more cups of coffee every day can result in a higher risk of developing heart disease. Why? Scientists think that high levels of caffeine may actually sabotage the positive effects of coffee’s antioxidants. And unfiltered coffee (java made in a French press, or boiled in a Turkish coffee preparation) can contribute to heart disease by increasing the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in the bloodstream. In addition to this, the high acid content in coffee can result in heartburn, and too much coffee can also cause dehydration, insomnia, and jitters. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of any of those conditions, so it’s prudent to take the high road and manage the daily addiction wisely.
Thanks for reading! Come back next week for another post. Future topics include an interview with a small-town roaster, tips on getting decent coffee from a crappy machine, coffee profiles by region, coffee recipes, and much more!
Have a safe, prosperous, and coffee-laden New Year!