Is Coffee Really All That Bad?

Is Coffee Really All That Bad?

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  1. For many people today, coffee has become a dark and dirty, guilty pleasure.

    Over the past three decades, coffee has risen to the top of the health-conscious no-no list as the instigator of every human malady from indigestion to heart disease to cancer–prompting many to switch to tea (which, of course, isn’t bad).

    But does science support the negative image coffee has been given?  According to recent studies conducted at South University’s School of Pharmacy at Savanna, Ga, coffee is getting an unsubstantiated, bad rap.

    As explained by Dr. Roseane M. Santos who led the studies, almost everything people think about coffee is wrong. In fact, coffee can actually be considered one of the healthiest beverages we can consume, especially when we consider that coffee is not just about the caffeine it contains, it’s also about high levels of important minerals such as potassium, iron, and zinc, and an abundance of a class of natural antioxidants known as chlorogenic acids.

    As most health-conscious today are aware, a daily intake of antioxidants — chemicals designed to fight free radicals in the body — is necessary to protect the body from aging and invasion by various types of cancer.  And while many have chosen to add these vital nutrients to their dietary regimen using over-the-counter supplements, the American Heart Association advises they be consumed via antioxidant-rich natural sources like fruits, vegetables, and yes, coffee. While many tend to think of coffee as a black liquid derived from a coffee plant, it is, after all, a bean. And like all beans, the coffee bean is a fruit–and is, in fact, loaded with antioxidants.

    But does this mean that the more coffee we drink, the more health benefits derived? No. And this is where a clear distinction needs to be made.

    Just as the health benefits of red wine have been over-shadowed by the detrimental effects of excessive red wine consumption — and the rash of diseases causes by alcoholism — coffee consumption needs to be kept in perspective. As long as consumption is limited to no more than four cups of regular coffee per day, the benefits far out-weigh the side-effects for most individuals.

    However, in this day and age when so-called “health” and “energy” drinks are all the rage, consumers should clearly understand that the vast array of caffeine-based drinks now available are packed full of sugar (in various forms) and numerous other chemicals (including caffeine-like plant derivatives) that can elevate heart rate and respiration, create anxiety and hypertension, and subject the body to untold stress–without delivering the antioxidants beneficial to our health.

    Additionally, while many consumers are under the impression that the blacker the coffee the richer the quality, the fact is that coffee color is a result of roasting, and beans that have been over-roasted to produce that dark color lose the beneficial qualities. Essentially, roasting bakes out all the health goodies.

    So for those individuals choosing coffee for its health benefits, remember to limit intake and opt for lighter, regular roasts.




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