Coffee is one of the most famous hot drinks on the planet and especially in the morning is the perfect companion of millions of people. We love it, we rely on it, and we drink it in massive quantities. It is estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day worldwide. As with most foods that have been around for centuries, coffee’s beginnings are enveloped in mystery. There is a popular Ethiopian legend wherein coffee is discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi in the 9th century, who found his goats frolicking and full of energy after eating the red fruit of the coffee shrub. Kaldi tried the fruit for himself and had a similar reaction, however the modern version of roasted coffee originated in Arabia around the 15th century where coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed, in a similar way to how it is now prepared and by the 16th century coffee was introduced to Italy thanks to the Venetian Port and from there to the rest of Europe. The expression coffee break was first attested in 1952 and the term coffee pot dates from 1705, also the word “coffee” entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch ( koffie ).
Coffee is actually very healthy. It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. In the last decade there have been discovered a number of beneficial properties that our beloved coffee can hide, here are 10 hidden health benefits of coffee:
- Coffee Appears to Have Protective Effects on The Liver -It turns out that coffee may protect against cirrhosis. People who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower risk.
- There Are Essential Nutrients in Coffee – one cup of coffee contains Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% , Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% , Manganese and Potassium: 3% , Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the recommended daily allowance.
- The Caffeine Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance – Caffeine makes the fat cells break down body fat, releasing them into the blood as free fatty acids and making them available as fuel and also increases Epinephrine (Adrenaline) levels in the blood.
- Coffee Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier – A study with 208,424 individuals in 2012 found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide. Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life.
- Coffee Does Not Cause Heart Disease and May Lower The Risk of Stroke – It is often claimed that caffeine can increase blood pressure, this is true, but the effect is small (3-4 mm/Hg) and usually goes away if you drink coffee regularly. Coffee may cause mild increases in blood pressure, which usually diminish over time. Coffee drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease, but a slightly lower risk of stroke.
- Coffee is The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in The Western Diet – studies show that most people get more antioxidants from coffee than both fruits and vegetables.
- Coffee Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter – Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels because it contains caffeine, which is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.
- Coffee May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes – Type 2 diabetes is a gigantic health problem, currently afflicting about 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin. For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Caffeine May Lower The Risk of Parkinson’s – Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neuro-degenerative disease, right after Alzheimer’s. It is caused by death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Same as with Alzheimer’s, there is no known cure, which makes it that much more important to focus on prevention.
In studies, coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, with a reduction in risk ranging from 32-60%.
- Coffee May Help You Live Longer – One study surveyed more than 520,000 people in 10 European countries, making it the largest study to date on coffee and mortality, and found that drinking more coffee could significantly lower a person’s risk of mortality
Besides all the amazing health benefits that coffee has, the reason why most of us love this amazing drink is for the unique and special flavour that coffee has. Taste is fairly well understood. It is detected by the tongue and is neatly categorised into sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami. If food was only experienced as taste, chefs and restaurant critics would be out of a job. Luckily, taste is only one facet of the complex thing we call flavour.
Coffee lovers who want to get the best flavour from their favourite brew should gulp the drink down rather than sip it. Scientists say taking big slurps of a coffee releases much more aroma compared to merely drinking it slowly. This study, published in the journal Food Research International, studied different sipping amounts and the impact they had on the smell of coffee. It was found that different coffee brewing technique appeared to affect aroma release and that the bigger the sip taken, the more fragrance was released. Aroma is an extremely important component of flavour as well and it is detected by receptors in the nose (orthonasal) and the mouth (retronasal) so don’t worry, you will always feel the aroma of a good coffee.
SO, IS COFFEE GOOD FOR EVERYONE?
If you have high cholesterol or you are caffeine sensitive, pregnant or a child you should pay attention to coffee drinking.