Recently I took the time to blog about my thoughts on decaffeinated coffee. It came as quite a surprise to some of you that as a health counselor and wellness coach I advocate (and partake in) drinking coffee. Coffee is not only, in my opinion, delicious, but in moderation actually has several health benefits. Coffee drinkers (it has recently been shown) have a decreased risk of several diseases including Parkinsons, cancer of the liver and type II Diabetes. Surprising considering the old adage, “It will stunt your growth,” or the belief that it could cause cancer or heart disease. Turns out that at the time that studies produced those results heavy coffee drinkers were also heavy smokers and generally less healthy and active people. When consumers of coffee with an otherwise healthy and active lifestyle were observed the benefits of the bean emerged. There are certain genetic makeups that do not benefit from coffee, however. Those who metabolize caffeine slowly should avoid it. It’s easy to tell if you are one of these people. If drinking coffee immediately makes you feel strange, or uncomfortable that’s your body telling you it’s not your cup, if you will.
Coffee itself can have a positive effect on the brain and body. While the caffeine in coffee doesn’t alter or speed up our thought process itself, what it does is clog the receptors in our brains that absorb the chemical we produce that triggers sleepiness. This actually allows the brainwaves to flow more freely and that’s what causes our brains and bodies to work a little faster. One of the things that is effected by this speed up is our metabolisms. This little boost can actually help us maintain a healthy weight. In addition to caffeine which we now know in moderation can be good for us, coffee also contains a high amount of anti-oxidants, the benefits of which we discuss often.
Fun tips to making a great cup/or pot of coffee.
- Get a coffee grinder. This will not only save you money in the long run, but grinding your own coffee beans keeps your coffee fresher and more flavorful.
- Experiment with different brewing methods. One that has gained in popularity is the French Press. It’s very easy to use and makes a flavorful brew. If using a French Press make sure not to grind your beans too finely or you’ll end up with a mouth full of coffee grounds. Find the brewing method that you like best.
- Sprinkle some cinnamon in it for great taste and a boost in anti-oxidants.
- Pick a quality coffee. It’s fun to experiment with different flavors of coffee, and I’m not talking about hazelnut or french vanilla. The taste of your coffee can very greatly based on where it’s from and how it’s roasted. The lighter the roast the higher the caffeine content and the more sour the taste. The darker the roast the bolder the taste. Trying out single origin coffees can give you a more precise idea of what type of coffee you prefer.
- In keeping with what has become a theme this week, I must mention that the coffee industry is another that has what we’ll call dirty hands in the way of worker conditions and wages. Buying Fair Trade Certified coffee is a great way to support coffee growers that are providing safe conditions and fair wages to their workers, helping to end the cycle of poverty.
- Don’t drink too much. I cannot stress enough that moderation is key in consuming coffee. Drinking too much may not make you short, but it can leave you feeling short-tempered or anxious. Everybody is different in how they metabolize caffeine. Caffeine, like any substance that triggers neuro-responses, can also become addictive. So please, pay attention to your body and use this bean to your advantage.