The Buzz on Coffee



By Marcus O’Neill

The alarm goes off.  You stumble out of the bed and make your way to the kitchen. You turn on the coffee maker. Minutes later you’re enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee. This morning ritual is one that many of us can’t imagine doing without.

In fact, coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages on the planet. Egyptians don’t drink quite as much as their counterparts in Europe or North America, but with the rise of trendy European-style cafés in Cairo, it is increasingly becoming a beverage of choice.

But it begs the question.  Is all this coffee good for us?

Health Benefits of Coffee

Most people drink coffee for a boost in energy and alertness. But did you know that coffee has been proven to have other health-related benefits as well?  Let’s take a look at just a few of the health benefits associated with drinking coffee.

1. Coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants: It was recently reported that for many people coffee provides the largest source of antioxidants in their diet. This is partly because we don’t eat nearly as many fruits and vegetables as we should, but it also means that coffee can play an important role in helping prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress, like cardiovascular disease and cancer.

2. Coffee could lower your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes: For every cup of coffee you drink per day, your risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes decreases by 5-7%.  While it’s not fully understood why this occurs, the theory is that it’s probably related to coffee’s effect on hormones that impact insulin sensitivity.

3. Coffee may protect against neurodegenerative diseases: Studies have reported that coffee drinkers have a 40-65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a 32-60% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Note that these benefits appear to be linked to coffee’s caffeine content, so decaf drinkers are out of luck.

Keep in Mind

Most health authorities suggest limiting your caffeine intake to 300-400 mg per day to minimize any of the negative side effects. This is equivalent to about 3-4 cups of coffee. Some negative side effects of too much caffeine include difficulty sleeping, irritability, nervousness, rapid heart rate and headaches.  Remember that other foods like chocolate, tea, cola or energy drinks also contain caffeine, so if you’re consuming these items don’t forget to take them into account.

It’s also important to be aware of the “extras” you add to your coffee.  As we’ve seen, coffee by itself is a pretty healthy beverage, but when you start to add things like sugar and milk (not to mention whipped cream and caramel!), the calories can add up very quickly.

Bottom Line

Coffee can be an extremely healthy beverage if consumed in moderation.  In addition to giving us our daily energy boost, it’s been shown to help prevent many diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Does anyone want to join me for a cup?

Missing at the end, Marcus O’Neil’s bio

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