Coffee: A Look at a Global Beverage

Coffee is as universal as the atmosphere and it has been around humans for centuries. Today most people begin the day with a cup of coffee and several multi-million businesses have been built just by selling the stimulating drink. There is a reason behind the global appeal and numerous studies point to many health benefits of coffee.

The origins of coffee have their own legend to add an air of mystic to this enigmatic drink as a story is told of an observant herdsman in Ethiopia who noticed goats acting giddy near a certain shrub. On investigating he noted the goats eating red berries and after tasting them himself he got a sense of excitement and energy. He reported findings to local elders who thought of drying and boiling the red fruit and supposedly the drink known today as coffee was thus born.

Coffee is usually drank hot or cold and is brewed from processed coffee beans. The so-called beans are actually a seed contained in a coffee cherry, the fruit produced by the coffee plant. Coffee plants have been known to clock a century and they produce fruit years. Coffee farmers harvest an average of 10 pounds of coffee yearly and harvest the cherries when they turn bright red.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Apart from being a stimulant, they are many health benefits of coffee and these include:

  • Helps burn fat; coffee increases the metabolic rate immediately it is consumed and this means more calories are burnt without any physical activity being involved. Studies show coffee increases the metabolic rate by 3 to 4 percent at rest and this state can be maintained for up to three hours after consuming coffee.
  • Reduces diabetes risk; coffee has been observed to lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes and is a strong factor as exercise and eating healthy. An analysis of pf data demonstrated a clear link between coffee intake and reduced diabetes risk.
  • Protects the brain; initial studies suggest coffee intake lowers the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and spinal muscular atrophy. More studies are needed to support the claims but coffee has shown promise against these debilitating and incurable illnesses associated with aging.
  • Liver health; coffee contains compounds that are good for liver health. Studies have shown regularly drinking coffee helps prevent liver cirrhosis while another has shown that drinking two cups of coffee daily lowers the chances of contracting liver cancer by over 40 percent.

 

Health Risks Associated With Caffeine

They are a number of health risks associated with caffeine, the main active ingredient in coffee and these include insomnia, polyuria, restlessness, nervousness, headaches, rapid heart rates, muscle tremors and stomach upsets.

Another issue that arises with coffee consumption is the method of preparation. When taken black and unsweetened, it has negligible amounts of calories but cream, sugar and flavors in products such as cappuccinos, lattes and espressos may make coffee very high in calories.