If the smell of freshly brewed coffee brings a smile on your face, then read on. Coffee happens to be one of the most loved beverages across the world. The coffee that we drink is derived from dark brown aromatic beans that grow on coffee trees. Origins of the coffee plant coffea can be traced back to Sudan and Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion in the Indian Ocean. It is now cultivated across the world and is the second most consumed drink worldwide after water. There are primarily two varieties of coffee - c.arabica and c.robusta. Arabica beans are flat and add acidity to the flavour, while Robusta beans are oval in shape and make a bitter brew. The coffee we drink is brewed from the dried and roasted seeds of the berries of certain coffea plants. The drink we get is dark, bitter, a little acidic and stimulating because of its caffeine content. Caffeine is present naturally in seeds, leaves and fruits of a number of plants and is safe for consumption in moderate amounts. Caffeine content of coffee depends on how it is brewed.
Caffeine content (mg)
|Café coffee-latte or cappuccino|
|Expresso- short Black|
Source: Australian Beverages
In addition to caffeine, coffee beans have other nutrients too:
Nutrition In Coffee:
One eight-ounce cup of regular coffee contains about:
- 2.4 calories
- 0 grams fat
- 0 grams sugar
- 0.3 grams protein
- 0.2 milligrams vitamin B2 riboflavin
- 116 milligrams potassium
Coffee also contains antioxidants that are linked to protection against inflammation, which is the root cause of a number of diseases. Antioxidants act against free radicals in our body converting them to harmless substances that are then flushed out. Roasted coffee has the best amounts of antioxidants. Some of the antioxidants found in coffee and their effects are:
- Cafestol: This is linked to enhancing memory.
- Trigonelline: It is high in roasted coffee; gives it the bitter flavour and has antibacterial properties.
- Chlorogenic Acid: This is found both in roasted and green coffee, and has important anti-bacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect in our body.
- Caffeine: It is being investigated as an antioxidant.
(Also Read: 5 Coffee Rituals From Around The World)
Coffee contains antioxidants that are linked to protection against inflammation
Benefits Of Coffee:
Two huge studies published in the journal Annals of Medicine suggested that drinking two cups of coffee a day may increase life span of a person. Drinking coffee was linked to lower risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and diabetes.
1. Coffee may reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke. The nurses' health study of 83,076 women showed that regular coffee intake was linked to a slightly lowered risk of stroke. In another study which followed 37,514 people, it was found that moderate coffee intake was linked to lower risk of heart diseases.
2. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that coffee intake was associated with a lower risk of Type-2 diabetes. Another interesting finding of this study was that people who had caffeinated coffee reduced the risk by 4% and people who consumed decaffeinated coffee showed a 7% decrease, suggesting that it was probably not the caffeine but the antioxidants present in coffee of both kinds that were responsible.
3. Coffee intake is associated with protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Coffee is a known stimulant for the central nervous system and helps improve memory and cognition. The antioxidants along with caffeine seem to play a positive role in brain health. Studies have found that caffeine is an effective tool for disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
4. It is known to improve energy and concentration. Adenosine, a neurotransmitter, is the reason behind being tired and sleepy. Caffeine resembles adenosine and binds to its receptors in the brain making sure you are awake and alert.
5. It is also associated with better physical performance.
Caution: Take care as excessive intake of caffeine in amounts greater than 400mg/day is considered to not be safe. According to Mayo Clinic, drinking more than about 4 cups of brewed coffee may lead to migraine headaches, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, frequent urination or inability to control urination, stomach upset, fast heartbeat and or muscle tremors.
Excessive intake of coffee is also linked to high BP and sleep deprivation. Pregnant women are advised to limit coffee to about 1-2 cups/day; excess coffee intake has been linked to abortion, low birth weight of the baby and pre-mature birth. Coffee may also need to be curbed if you are taking certain medications, so check with your doctor. Children should avoid coffee, as the side effects may be more severe. Athletes using caffeine supplements need to do so under professional guidance.
So enjoy the hot brew this winter, but in moderation. Cheers!
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