This blog is all about the goodness of good coffee. And why coffee is so much better for you than wine. Last week I spoke about the wonders of tea, but today, it is about the one thing I look forward to every morning, a good cup of good coffee.
Coffee contains amazing antioxidants and all we need to do is ensure that we imbibe two cups of coffee every day. Make that good coffee. Not instant coffee. A good cup or two of good pure ground coffee beans is what we are talking about.
What are antioxidants? Well, according to the American National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Diets high in vegetables and fruits, which are good sources of antioxidants, have been found to be healthy; however, research has not shown antioxidant supplements to be beneficial in preventing diseases. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.”
So, in a nutshell, antioxidants can defuse free radicals and protect us from aging and so many terminal diseases, including cancer. Coffee is packed with antioxidants and it is known to help prevent cancer, heart disease, liver conditions, and type 2 diabetes.
What does this tell you? If you have recently stopped drinking, or want to stop drinking, turn to coffee and up the stakes! I drink 3 to 4 good large coffees a day, my energy levels are extremely high, and I never get sick.
How to Drink Good Coffee
The best way to drink coffee is to grind the beans yourself, then brew a fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Do it again later on in the morning. The healthiest way to drink coffee is straight from the freshly ground coffee beans, and drink it up, don’t wait for it to cool. Add full cream milk. This adds a bit of oomph and flavour too.
Homemade coffee is best because then you know what you are getting. If you go out and order a coffee, or get a takeaway coffee, you never know how fresh the ground coffee or the beans are, or the origins of that coffee. Again, the type of coffee is important – a freshly ground cappuccino is better than a filter coffee and an Americano is better than an iced coffee. Why?
When a cappuccino is made, it is made with freshly ground coffee beans and you can see the barista making the coffee – this is also important, that you can see the barista making your coffee! If you are like me, you love a strong double cappuccino BUT there is lots of milk in this popular coffee of choice so I often request a large Americano with hot milk, and I ask that the hot milk is frothy and filled to the top, and then I get the best of both worlds – a tall cup of coffee and some hot frothy milk, but not too much! I do realise that the penchant to choose instant coffee these days is based on a restrictive budget that all South Africans face. If that is the case, get good instant coffee, freeze-dried or other, and NOT the Ricoffys or Friscos of this world, full of chicory and additives.
Research shows that grinding the darker roasted coffee beans is better than the lighter beans because they have more antioxidants – I must say that I usually choose medium or light roast as I like the higher caffeine and taste in these beans but now, I know more. Coffee drinking is an art – it can become an obsession too! I like to drink my coffee hot and creamy so I buy powered milk for my coffee instead of fresh milk.
Making coffee is an art and should be done meditatively, in the present – there are various ways to make coffee and if you love coffee, you will have a few of these:
- A coffee machine – to make a cappuccino, a filter, an espresso or a latte, instantly, just add the coffee and the milk and fiddle with a few buttons. The coffee tastes unique and creamy.
- Stove top pot – fill with enough water for one cup, add coffee grinds, sit on the stove and cook. The coffee brews when the water is hot, rising up through the coffee to the top, and you cool and pour into your milk.
- Plunger – add the coffee grinds, add hot water, stir, let it sit a bit, then pour into a cup with milk.
The obsessed coffee fiends say that coffee should be made with purified water and that your beans should be ground in an electric coffee grinder for instant gratification every day – and instant detoxing of course!
10 Good Reasons to Drink Good Coffee Every Day
Let’s take a leaf out of Nikki Jong’s book, on onemedical.com to see why we should drink more coffee:
- Coffee is a powerful source of healthy antioxidants. It has more antioxidants than green tea and cocoa which are known to be packed with these substances. Scientists have found about 1 000 antioxidants in pure coffee beans and then hundreds more arise during the roasting of the beans. These amazing substances fight inflammation which is the first sign of dis-ease.
- Caffeine boosts short-term memory. Brain activity has been found to flow after a cup of coffee, including better memory and reactions after the caffeine kicked in. Caffeine has a positive effect on concentration and memory.
- Coffee may help guard against mental deterioration. Drinking coffee every day may help with aging and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia. Caffeine helps decrease risks of getting type 2 diabetes which has been linked to dementia and reduces the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque that is associated with Alzheimer’s.
- Coffee is healthy for your heart. Coffee lovers who drink 2 to 4 cups of coffee daily have fewer heart disease risks than those who don’t drink coffee or drink it rarely. Coffee prevents inflammation and therefore protects the heart from arterial damage.
- Coffee may help restrict specific cancers. Those who drink coffee regularly have fewer incidents of liver, colon, breast, and rectal cancers and men have less prevalence of prostate cancer. Coffee prevents inflammation which can cause tumours so helps to control free radicals.
- Coffee may reduce the risks of getting type 2 diabetes. With every cup of coffee enjoyed every day, the risk of getting diabetes 2 is lowered. Coffee helps the body regulate blood sugars via insulin management and it helps prevent damage to tissues and to slow down inflammation, the first sign of such disease.
- Coffee is medicine for livers. Coffee helps stop liver cancer and it also shows less risk of cirrhosis, especially in alcoholics. The more coffee drunk in a day, the lower the levels of liver enzymes caused by eating and drinking badly.
- Coffee helps us to exercise harder and better. Coffee drinkers have more energy, never get tired and do not get dehydrated during exercise. Caffeine is a known improver of athletic accomplishment and stamina. Caffeine fights pain, and fatigue and adds more fatty acids to the blood which aids in stamina.
- Coffee reduces despair. Those who drink more coffee avoid depression and researchers say this is linked to the effects of coffee on the brain because it stimulates neurotransmitters that control moods, such as happy chemicals dopamine and serotonin.
- Coffee helps prevent gout. Coffee and caffeine reduce insulin production which helps reduce uric acid levels and those who drink coffee have less gout (if they are prone to this condition).
How to Keep It Healthy
So how much coffee is healthy, and how much is too much? Two to three smallish cups per day are considered moderate; heavy coffee drinkers consume four cups or more daily. Remember, the amount of caffeine per coffee beverage varies depending upon the preparation and style of the beverage. I drink 3 pots of coffee a day which is one huge mug every time! I am fine! Some people drink more than me. My one big household expense is coffee, so be it.
Your best bet: Skip the coffees loaded with cream and sugar, and just order a normal coffee with a normal amount of milk. Skip the wine, and make more coffee!