Some of my fondest childhood memories involve coffee. No, I wasn’t drinking it.
I was smelling it and well… ‘hearing’ it. I will explain.
My parents loved their daily coffee. Early morning filled my sleepy brain sounds and smells. The clinking sounds of coffee cups and spoons came first. Then came the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
Soon I was in the kitchen having my breakfast, fully and joyfully immersed in my parents’ coffee time. On the weekends, there was also an afternoon cuppa, which again…I could not resist the comfort of.
It’s all about the comfort, right?
I drank coffee in my early 20s, but then stopped for a few years. I started drinking it again 10 years go or so and been enjoying it since.
- I love the smell, taste, and the way it makes me feel
- I love the morning ritual of brewing it (pour-over method using a Chemex and filter) and settling for early morning work with a steaming cup.
As far as the health benefits of coffee…there are a few that you may find relevant.
Before I jump into that, though, I will mention this: I only buy pesticide-free, fair-trade coffee, ideally from small local roasters and that includes the farmer’s market. This is not because I am snob, but because that’s how I show my gratefulness towards farmers growing good quality coffee beans, wherever in this world they may be, and local coffee purveyors supplying perfect and freshly roasted batches while contributing to the local economy. Good karma counts, right?
Why it’s good
If you’re already a coffee drinker, enjoy your daily cuppa knowing that:
- Coffee contains over 1,000 compounds including caffeine, chlorogenic acid, cafestol, and kahweol.
- It contains soluble fibre (yes, coffee contains fibre!) and polyphenols, which are both beneficial for your microbiome.
- Studies have shown that coffee can reduce low-grade inflammation.
- Your little coffee habit may lower the risk of chronic liver disease.
- Coffee has a mild laxative effect which helps keep you regular.
- Your brain is also benefiting coffee may improve cognitive function and lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
- An average amount of three to four cups a day were found to lower the risk of all-cause mortality.
- Those three to four cups daily were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, specific cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
What about jitteriness or potential health risks such as hypertension? As far as post-coffee jitteriness goes, we’re each different. And it’s not a good feeling either, so if you react to coffee that way, go for decaf or have other healthy brews such as green tea. Some people metabolize caffeine faster than others, so that plays a role too.
Regular coffee was not found to be a risk for hypertension. On the contrary, studies showed that one to three cups a day may in fact protect against hypertension.
I don’t like relying on coffee to make up for lack of sleep, and I encourage you to stick to the same. Get good sleep and enjoy a no-strings-attached relationship with your morning cuppa. Also, no coffee past lunch time as it may interfere with your sleep (the half-life of caffeine, meaning the time it takes for your body to metabolize half of your ingested amount, is 4 to 8 hours).
There are some concerns about increased serum cholesterol levels in coffee drinkers, possibly due to the oils present (cafestol and kahweol). While not a certainty, I think it’s safe to go for filtered coffee so said oils will stick to the filter.
The necessary cautionary part: stick with decaf if you’re pregnant or nursing or have any health issues that caffeinated brews can interfere with.
And last but not least: please do not take this as an invitation to pick up a coffee habit. Because such a brew comes with benefits but potential, albeit minimal risks, go for decaf (Swiss method to avoid chemicals) and if possible, opt for pesticide-free and fair-trade beans.