Java, Joe, Mud, and Cuppa are some of the many names for a simple cup of coffee! That aromatic, hot drink which gets you going in the morning or a quick, pick-me-up in the afternoon.
Coffee is consumed by 2.25 billion drinking enthusiasts worldwide every day according to Wikipedia.(1)
However, the question arises constantly whether or not this tasty and sometimes needed drink is good for your health?
Studies have gone back and forth in reference to coffee and one's health. Coffee in moderation has been assumed to be fine for consumption.
Recent studies show that a cup of coffee may actually have health benefits.
Harvard Medical School's Family Health Guide, says coffee may assist in benefits of certain cancers, Parkinson's disease (men only) and diabetes.(2)
It has also been suggested that coffee - a stimulant helps with cognitive function and attention.
Black coffee contains antioxidants that are helpful in reducing cell damage and aging.
Dr. Rania Dempsey, Director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine in Delafield, Wisconsin states, “There has been some controversy in the medical literature about whether coffee is beneficial or harmful.
Some studies have shown that high coffee consumption (>10 cups per day) may be associated with high blood pressure and increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The bottom line is this: if you are not a coffee drinker, there is no evidence to suggest you should start drinking coffee just to improve your health.
If you are currently a moderate coffee drinker without medical conditions, there is no reason for you to stop. Your coffee habit may be beneficial to your health.”
If recent studies do show coffee beans contain certain benefits, then what about the caffeine?
According to the Mayo Clinic, an 8 oz. cup of coffee contains 95-200 mg of caffeine. If you have pre-existing medical issues, caffeine can affect them.
These include: heart conditions, ulcers, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and fibroid cysts.
Coffee can also be dehydrating and very acidic. It is recommended to speak to your doctor about caffeine intake and recommendations.
Caffeinated vs. Decaffeinated
How exactly is coffee decaffeinated?
Most companies use a chemical process to cleanse the bean from its natural caffeine.
These chemicals can be linked to higher levels of cholesterol according to the Harvard Family Health Guide. This may be contributed to the particular bean used in decaffeinated coffees as well as the chemical process.
The Berkley University of California states that in order for coffee to be considered decaffeinated, "it must have 97% of the caffeine removed."
The varieties of chemicals used in this process are methylene or ethyl acetate, carbon dioxide or the water method. There are new companies that have purified this process, but they are specialty brands.
Caribou Coffee uses a natural process as well as Swiss Water Decaffeinated Water Company.
Organic Beans vs. Regular Beans
Is it worth the extra effort and the extra money to buy organic coffee?
Surely, when you get your mocha, low-fat, you do not ask the barista if they used organic beans! However, since we are questioning the benefits of coffee, here is the lowdown on non-organic beans.
In countries where coffee is grown there are not necessarily the same regulations as there are in more developed countries.
There are two theories related to the pesticides on coffee beans.
First is, the actual roasting process cleanses the bean from most of the pesticides used in the farming of coffee beans.
The second is that agrochemicals are taken up through roots of the plant and therefore, in the actual bean and not just a residue.
Either way there is possible exposure to the chemicals.
In organic coffee farms, the land must be free of pesticides, synthetic chemicals and fertilizers on the land.
There is also a higher percentage of organic farmers who tend to use more socially responsible standards such as Fairtrade.
According to the Fair Trade foundation, "Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers."
The big question between the organic and non-organic is the taste?
Can you taste the difference? Many people claim that organic tastes better and stronger.
One of the reasons is the rich, pure soil the organic beans are grown in.
Also, organic farms are able to use a higher quality bean since the cost is higher.
While you will pay more for organic, knowing it is not grown with chemicals and harmful pesticides is worth the extra charge.
Does Coffee Help With Your Workout?
It is difficult enough to drag yourself to the gym or on the treadmill before you begin your day but is that a morning cup of coffee actually helping with your workout?
According to Self Magazine, coffee can contribute to a performance boost.
Cyclist, runners, and cross-country skiers pushed “1.5 percent to 4 percent longer.” This may not seem like a big difference to some, but as we know when working out every bit helps.
“Caffeine causes muscles to release more calcium, which cues muscle fibers to contract with added force. As a result, you get this surge of I-can-do-it energy that allows you to bang out an extra rep…”
So instead of the artificial color and sugared sports drink, a cup of black coffee may do a better job with increasing your workout and kick-start your day.
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks worldwide and there is a cafe now on almost every block.
It appears people would not easily give up their cup of Joe.
However, with new studies showing that there are health benefits to drinking coffee in moderation, one may not have to consider eliminating it from their daily routine.
When scientist and doctors do make these conclusions, however, pumpkin lattes and mochaccinos are not taken into consideration.
While coffee is not considered a medicinal drink, it seems just fine to enjoy your simple, pure, black cup of coffee.