What’s So Great About Coffee?

What’s So Great About Coffee?

Ever have one of those days months where you spend more than a little time dreaming up a faster caffeine delivery system. Mugs are so quaint but wouldn’t an IV drip on a rolling rack be more efficient? Or maybe one of those football helmets with the straw emerging from two giant vats atop your head. Hands free to take you from school drop off to the office and straight to soccer practice afterwards. And while it may seem self-indulgent to spend so much time thinking about our own needs, it turns out coffee could very well help you live longer. Ergo, you can work longer and harder, thereby making more money and allowing Junior to go to an even better University. See, it really is all about the children (just put juice or something in their helmet… they’re jacked up quite enough on their own thanks very much!)

Despite a recent flood of pretty decent press, coffee still gets a bit of a bad rap. We talk about it like it’s a “guilty pleasure,” commiserate about our “addictions” and swear we’re going to quit soon. Sure, mainlining the stuff all day every day could have some pretty serious down side (withdrawal effects, inability to sleep, headaches and stomach issues), but in moderation, the caffeine in coffee has been definitively proven to have some impressive health benefits. Here’s the lowdown:

A long term study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

Drinking 3-4 cups of coffee per day is associated with an 80% reduction in risk for cirrhosis of the liver, the 9th leading cause of death in the U.S.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, men who drink 2-3 or more cups of coffee a day lower their risk of developing gallstones by 40%

A recent meta-analysis of 17 studies on coffee consumption and colorectal cancer found a 24% decreased risk of the disease in people who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day, likely due to the increase colonic activity induced by coffee. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in North America

Coffee can also boost energy, mood and mental performance. Researchers at MIT found coffee to be “mind-accelerating,” improving reaction time, attention span, concentration and acuity with numbers.

According to Dr. Donald Hensrud at WebMD, while there are some risks associated with caffeine consumption, “the best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks”. Probably best to top out at 3-4 cups per day and bear in mind that cream and sugar don’t factor into the benefits (nor does the giant chocolate chip cookie that goes so well with your afternoon coffee break… DAMN you, giant cookie!) And pregnant women are best to limit coffee to 1 cup per day or none on the advice of their doctor.

Finally, coffee is full of antioxidants. According to Joe A. Vinson, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton who has studied coffee extensively “coffee is the Number 1 source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet.” While that statement may cry out for a follow up “What’s So Good about Vegetables, People!” let’s just enjoy the fact that something we love is actually good for us. Now, to build a better chocolate chip cookie… I’m on it!

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1 Comment

  1. eila
    September 18, 09:01 Reply

    amen! now I’m going to go make myself a nice warm cup this drizzly Monday on the East Coast!! it’s funny, i go in waves of really enjoying it, then switching to herbal teas, then back again. perhaps i should just stay put on the brown stuff!

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