Need I say more other than question why the glorious bean has only had supporting roles on my blog? I feel there is a definite need to right a wrong and end an injustice. Not only is it my favorite "pick me up" beverage and comfort drink but has many health benefits as well. Long demonized coffee is experiencing a long due renaissance and finally recognized as a legitimate part to any healthy diet.
"It looks like coffee has two main ways of improving the health of your body: antioxidants and caffeine. Both these substances have health and anti aging benefits....."
Coffee linked to brain health and improved cognitive functions?
"It provides coffee-drinkers with protection against certain age-related brain problems, such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and dementia.....A study published in the Psychopharmacology journal revealed that coffee-drinkers performed better on tests of cognitive function (reaction time, incidental verbal memory, and visuo-spatial reasoning) than non-drinkers."
What of the proposed antioxidants found in coffee?
"the antioxidants in coffee are called 'polyphenols'. Coffee also has flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, stilbenes, lignins, cinnamic acids, coumarins, lignans and benzoic acids. Coffee also has high level of chlorogenic acids and caffeic acid, which are very strong antioxidants. "
It also appears to have a role to play in athletics and sports performance.......
"It is thought by many that one of the ways in which an athlete receives a benefit from taking caffeine during exercise is through enhanced fat oxidation occurs; this leads to a sparing of the use of glycogen. However, it is probably more likely that the way that caffeine is beneficial to athletic performance is because it is able to inhibit adenosine receptors in the central nervous system. A further aspect of caffeine use is the effect that it has on the cardiovascular system...."
Studies tend to support the theory that endurance athletes reap the biggest boost in performance primarily due to the caffeine found in coffee.
"The average improvement in performance is about 12 percent, with more benefits noticed during endurance exercise than with shorter exercise (eight to 20 minutes) and a negligible amount for sprinters."
What about the diuretic affect of coffee on hydration levels - especially important for athletes?
"The U.S. military is intensely interested in the physiological effects of caffeine on hydration.....Using subjects who habitually consumed a relatively low amount of caffeine -- equivalent to one, six-ounce cup of brewed coffee (100 mg/day; about 1.3 mg caffeine/kg), they found no detrimental effects of caffeine on 24-hour urine volume. (Armstrong, In't J Sports Nutr, June 2005) By day's end, the urine losses were similar whether the person consumed no caffeine or a high dose."
Coffee remains a staple of my diet. I drink it black but also enjoy it with heavy cream or coconut milk. Sometimes I even add a little unpasturized honey before I head out on the bike or a run. I love the complex tastes of the different beans, the flavors of the different roasts and the aromas of (fresh) ground coffee. I like an expresso shot but also drink instant coffee as I am far from being a coffee snob.In my world there is a time and a place for all coffees. It is truly an amazing bean!