For years experts have debated the effects of coffee drinking on the human body. Is it good for us? Is it bad for us? Most coffee lovers didnt care. Nothing would part them from their morning cup of caffeine. Now the final word is in-coffee is good for us. Some studies even find the more we drink, the healthier we are.
Most people who enjoy a good cup of coffee know it increases mental alertness but what other benefits do we get from our morning cup? Study after study finds that coffee contains the same type of antioxidants found in green tea and fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants protect our bodies against the cell damage caused by free radicals-a major cause of aging and disease.
Here are just a few of the studies supporting the benefits of coffee drinking:
1. An ongoing Nurses Health Study of 85,000 female nurses found that even 6 cups of coffee a day did not increase the risk of heart attack.
2. The Harvard School of Public Health study of 125,000 individuals who drank 6 to 8 cups of caffienated coffee daily actually found it lowered the risk of type II diabetes risk 50% in men and 30% in women.
3. Another study found that non coffee drinkers are five times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than coffee drinkers and those who drank 3 to 4 cups of coffer per day had an 80% lower risk of cirrhosis of the liver and a 25% less chance of contracting colon cancer when compared to drinking no coffee at all.
So far no major study has found anything harmful about coffee drinking. If a woman is pregnant or nursing, she should always follow the instructions of her doctor.
What kind of coffee offers the most benefits?
Studies haven't addressed such issues as how freshness, brewing techniques and caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee affects the nutrition. It would seem obvious however, that the fresher your cup coffee is, the better. If youd like to get the most flavor and nutritional benefit you can, buy whole coffee beans and grind your own as you use them. Coffee grinders are inexpensive and simple to use. Grind just enough for your daily pot of coffee.
Once you try this method, youll never want to go back to purchasing pre-ground coffee. That burst of taste and heavenly aroma is well worth the trouble.
Tips for storing your coffee to preserve the flavor and freshness:
Have you ever purchased a large bag of coffee, either ground or beans, and then put it in the freezer, thinking this would preserve the freshness? The enemies of coffee flavor and freshness are air, moisture and heat. In both the freezer and refrigerator, coffee is exposed to moisture which is absorbed by the porous beans. Freezing also breaks down the oils in your beans, destroying flavor.
If you absolutely have to buy in bulk and know you won't use that amount in a week or two, then freezing is an option if you divide the beans up into what you will use in one week periods. Put each portion into a zip-loc bag, squeeze out all the air possible and then wrap it again in plastic wrap. Take out only enough for two weeks at a time and never re-freeze.
What works best to keep your coffee fresh and flavorful is an air-tight container with a rubber seal. Store this container in a cool, dark place. A good rule of thumb is to buy only what you will use within 2 weeks for the most flavorful coffee.
Coffee hint: The strength of your cup of morning coffee doesnt depend on the type of coffee you purchase, only the amount of grounds you use. For a more power-packed cup, simply use more grounds when you make your coffee.
Wondering what to do with your leftover coffee and coffee grounds? The same antioxidants which are good for you will also feed your plants. Add a little water to your leftover coffee and use it to water your house plants or outside plants. Coffee grounds are useful too. If you have a compost pile, both coffee grounds and filters add nitrogen. If you dont have a compost pile, just sprinkle the grounds around the base of your plants and water them in.
Want some recipes to add nutritious coffee to your diet? Go to http://www.Path2HealthyLiving.com/CoffeeRecipes.html/
Copyright 2006 by Joan Jones
Founder of Atitlan Network