Health Benefits of Coffee

Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee is tasty and a very popular drink, but there’s many benefits to drinking coffee aside from the energy boost and great flavor. By drinking coffee, you can lower your chances of being affected by certain illnesses and obtain many surprising health benefits.

Several research studies have shown that drinking coffee may lower your risk of contracting diseases including type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Coffee has a high antioxidant capacity and many nutrients including chromium and magnesium. These particular nutrients help the body regulate its use of insulin to control blood sugar, which is why it’s thought to be effective in combating type 2 diabetes. It’s highly advantageous to avoid contracting type 2 diabetes, as those with the disease have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and having strokes. This is true for both men and women, so both genders can equally benefit from the many advantages of drinking coffee.

Some cancers can also be avoided by regularly drinking coffee, particularly esophageal and oral cancer. Coffee’s antioxidants — which prevent tissue damage caused by free radicals — is what makes it effective in the fight against cancer. It is believed that the caffeine in coffee can also increase the effectiveness of certain varieties of painkillers and provide relief to those who suffer from chronic pain or are recovering from an injury.-

One study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that moderate coffee drinking lowers the risk of premature death. Another revealed that women who are heavy coffee drinkers have 20% less risk of having breast cancer, while men who are heavy coffee drinkers are 20% less likely to develop any form of prostate cancer. Coffee is also a heart healthy food. A Japanese study that included more than 76,000 participants discovered that men who drank one to two cups of brew each day reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by up to 38%. Another study in 2009 concluded that women who drank two or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of stroke, regardless their cholesterol level or whether they had blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

One well known benefit of drinking coffee is that is provides an energy boost and can increase mental sharpness. Drinking it long term is believed to help avoid the chance of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and similar ailments in later life. Researchers in Sweden and Finland found that after following the health of 1,400 people for 20 years, those who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee daily decreased their chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s by 65%.

If you regularly drink coffee, you may have noticed drink mixes containing green coffee extract and beverages with the ingredient being sold at popular coffee chains. As it turns out, green coffee extract can positively affect weight loss and help make maintaining a normal, healthy weight easier.

Gardeners who grow their own flowers, fruits, or veggies, can add used coffee grounds to the soil to help increase its nitrogen levels. Doing so produces healthier, more resilient plants with larger yields. Reusing coffee grounds eliminates the need to add chemicals to soil and is a natural, sustainable way to improve your garden. Have your morning cup of coffee, save the grounds, and you’ll be doing your body, wallet, and the earth a favor.

There is one major caveat to all of these positives. Though coffee can be good for your health when you drink it in regularly, it should be straight black coffee. Once you add sweeteners, creamers, liquid flavorings and the like to your cup of brew, the health benefits significantly decrease. Fortunately, there are many different roast levels and varieties of coffee, and enjoying a plain black cup is quite easy. If you usually use sugar or cream to decrease the bitterness of your coffee, try a lighter roast. If you add artificial flavoring because you want variety, consider drinking coffee from several countries of origin and learn to appreciate their different, complex flavor notes. Consuming well brewed black coffee not only tastes satisfying, but can boost your health over time.

Coffee Roast Levels

Coffee Roast Levels

A major factor that affects the intensity and flavor of a cup of coffee is the roast level of its beans. Before being roasted, coffee beans are essentially tasteless with a grassy smell and they have a green appearance. To get the coffee look and flavor that people know and love, the roasting process is necessary.

Green Coffee
Green Coffee

 

Roast levels range from light to extra dark. Variety, grind, and country of origin aside, let’s look specifically at how roast level affects the taste of coffee.

 

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Light Roasted Coffee

Often called cinnamon roast because of its light brown color, the light roasted coffee provides the mildest flavor, similar to toasted grain with a bit of acidity. It has no oil on the surface of the beans after the roasting process is completed, and this roast level retains the highest level of caffeine. If you want to notice the flavor differences between coffees of different origins, light roast is best. There’s a level that’s a step above light called white roast — which is obtained by under roasting the beans — but it doesn’t have a traditional coffee flavor, isn’t very common in stores and cafes, and is best suited for those who don’t enjoy bold drinks.

Medium Roasted Coffee

The color of medium roast coffee is darker and the flavor is more pronounced. Medium roasted coffee is very balanced, with a smooth taste and fuller body. This level is also known as city, breakfast, and American roast.

Dark Roasted Coffee

Dark roast coffee is sometimes described as spicy, and is even darker in color than medium roasted beans. The dark roast level is often used to make espresso and lends gourmet coffee drinks a very rich and intense flavor. If you like your coffee very bold, go for an extra dark roast. These beans have a noticeable bit of oil on their surface after the roasting process. Extra dark coffee has a smoky character with a tinge of bitterness. Those who enjoy coffee’s flavor but don’t want to drink a ton of caffeine should try darker roasts, since the caffeine at this level is at a minimum.

Coffee Vs Tea

Coffee Vs Tea

Coffee and tea are among the most popular drinks in the world, and, personally, I like them both. Each has the right amount of caffeine to keep me going, but when given a choice between the two I always pick coffee.

When it comes to flavor, coffee beans have tons whereas tea is relatively flavorless. Yes, it can be soothing, but most tea blends are essentially leaves that don’t taste like much. Coffee is a different story because the flavor is bold. Even lightly roasted grounds have a satisfying taste, unlike certain types of tea. I can’t drink tea without a bit of sugar or honey, but I often enjoy a cup of coffee without creamer or sweetener.

Another advantage that coffee has is it’s not as temperamental as tea tends to be. If your steeping temperature is off by just a few degrees, you can end up with a bland cup of nothing. Too high a temperature, and you’ll scorch the leaves, especially when drinking green and white varieties. With coffee, I can simply put my grounds into the French press, top it off with water — without worrying about the temperature being too hot — and wait a few minutes for the magic to happen.

My top reason for loving coffee is the variety. Roast levels aside, have you ever looked at the huge number of coffee types and flavors available? When you add in creamers and flavoring syrups to the mix, you can basically have dessert in a cup when you make your brew. Tea can become boring, but I’m able to have everything from creme brulee to salted caramel and toasted almond coffee without raking up the calories.

Drinking coffee is a unique experience, and there’s nothing like the smell of a freshly brewed cup. Because of its distinctive flavor and versatility, coffee is the hands down winner over tea.