To Coffee or Not to Coffee?

>> Thursday, March 4, 2010

Espresso Coffee Beans - Scrumptiously Fit Food

After our recent trip to Europe, we've found that we're constantly in search of that perfect cup of coffee, whether it be an espresso, cappuccino or americano. Since Calgarians don't make their cappuccinos like the Europeans do (instead of half espresso, half milk and a dollop of foam, we often get a third espresso, a third milk and a third of foam the differences between dry and wet capuccinos, but I digress...), we decided that it was time to go out and buy our own espresso machine (and we've since had at least two cups a day). Seeing as this is also a nutrition blog, I thought it would be interesting to look in to the nutritional value of coffee, is it really all that bad for you? If so, why do the Europeans drink it like there's no tomorrow?
A quick search on the internet lead me to some interesting benefits of coffee ( I can see all the daily java junkies rejoice!).

1) Antioxidants: Not only are these good for you, but they have been found to also prevent our bodies from free radical damage, which is found in our environment through pollution and can harm our DNA. Believe it or not, coffee is one of the main sources of antioxidants for majority of the population today.

2) Prevention of diseases: Daily coffee consumption can prevent the onset of many diseases including type 2 diabetes, cancer and Parkinson's. Decaffeinated coffee has also shown to produce the same effects!

3) Counteracts our other vices: Yes, those would include alcohol consumption, the detriments of smoking, etc. Although I wouldn't run out and test this one instead of choosing to live healthier, it is interesting.

4) Helping the throb: Throbbing headaches that is, caffeine in coffee is a vasocontrictor, meaning it causing the blood vessels in our bodies to constrict and with it lowers the blood pumping to our brains. This comes in handy when we have headaches, which is a rush of blood to the brain and with the blood vessels slowing down the blood rush, it lowers the throbbing pain of the headache!

Of course we can't forget that coffee is the highest source of caffeine and it's recommended that we only consume (not pregnant women of course, although it brings me back to how the Europeans do it, again....I digress...) 400 mg of caffeine a day, which is the equivalent of three 8-oz (237 ml) cups of brewed coffee. For those of you who enjoy your espressos (ya ya, Starbucks drinks are included here) then you're looking at ~100mg of caffeine in a shot of espresso. So there you go all you java junkies, drink away, but as I've said many times before and this is no exception here...moderation my friends, moderation. Now where's that burr grinder...

Source(s): Health Canada, WebMD


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