In short: yes. Thanks to the high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals it contains, coffee can be good for us when consumed in moderation. Some studies even show that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing serious diseases.
How is coffee made?
Coffee is brewed from the seeds of berries from the coffee plant. Once ripe, these berries are picked and the fruit or pulp is removed, leaving the seed or bean behind. Next, the bean is dried and roasted until the desired flavour is achieved (e.g. dark roast).
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Are there any risks to consuming coffee?
Research shows coffee can have harmful side effects in excess. High consumption of unfiltered coffee has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. In addition, some studies have found that two or more cups of coffee per day can increase the risk of heart disease in certain people.
However, the benefits of coffee do outweigh the negatives and it is generally safe in conjunction with a balanced diet. In fact, even pregnant women can still enjoy a mug every now and then - as long as they don’t exceed the recommended limit (200mg in a day.)
What are the common types of coffee?
While there are many different ways to serve coffee, some are healthier than others. As adding milk and sugar to coffee increases our fat and kilojoule consumption, long blacks and espressos are generally the better option.
- Café latte
- One or more shots of espresso (depending on how strong you like it) with steamed milk poured over it.
- A layer of espresso followed by a shot of steamed milk, topped with a layer of foamy milk and often finished off with a sprinkling of chocolate.
- Espresso (or short black)
- A small amount of boiling water run through finely ground coffee beans. No milk or extras are added.
- Flat white
- An espresso shot with steamed milk poured over it. While similar to the café latte, the milk used in a flat white is smoother and creamier in texture.
- Long black
- A mix of hot water and two shots of espresso
Can coffee help protect against or treat any conditions?
Some studies have found that coffee may protect against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. Coffee also appears to improve cognitive function, decrease the risk of depression. Other research shows a link between coffee consumption and decreased overall mortality.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant mostly found it tea, coffee and cacao. It is absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream and assists in stimulating the brain and central nervous system. This helps to prevent tiredness and keeps us awake.
As is the case with coffee, caffeine can have negative effects on the body if we have too much – from disrupting our sleep to making us anxious and jittery.
What are the biggest benefits of drinking coffee?
- Enhances physical performance
- Not only can caffeine ease fatigue during a workout, it increases the adrenaline levels in the blood. Studies show this may improve physical performance by 12-12 per cent on average.
- It relieves pain
- Caffeine helps alleviate migraines and tension headaches by constricting swollen blood vessels in the brain. That’s why some prescription and over-the-counter pain medications include it in the ingredients list.
- Assists with weight loss
Many studies show caffeine can boost metabolic rate by 3-11 per cent, which results in the muscles burning fat for fuel. In fact, caffeine is one of the few natural substances proven to do so.
- Sharpens the brain
Research shows coffee plays a role in improved brain function, including memory, focus, and reaction times. This is because caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine, which leads to the increased firing of neurons. According to one review, this helps us stick with “lengthy, boring, or tedious tasks.”
- Improves mood
Caffeine elevates our serotonin and dopamine levels, improving our mood and reducing the risk of depression. One study found that consuming caffeine (the equivalent of approximately 1 cup of coffee) every 4 hours lead to sustained improvement of mood over the day.
Best recipes using coffee:
- Sour cream coffee cake with walnut streusel
- Vietnamese egg coffee
- Almond and coffee cookies
- Coffee crumble slice
- Caramel & coffee ice cream sandwich
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