How you prepare or drink your coffee is key to reap its perks
While your cup of java, besides providing you with pleasure and likely giving you a kick start to your day, does indeed offer an assortment of health benefits.
There are, however, some potential downsides of coffee.
The beverage made headlines a number of years ago as a potent booster of blood cholesterol levels. The fuss, though, died down quickly as it was pointed out that the research showed that the offending coffee was boiled and not prepared in the same way as most imbibe their joe these days.
Coffee, filtered by means of paper, does not boost blood cholesterol. The paper traps the two offending compounds, cafestol and kahweol, thereby halting their blood-cholesterol raising action.
But before you breathe a sigh of relief, think about just how your coffee is made. If you brew filtered coffee but use one of the environmentally friendly gold filters instead of paper, you’re still taking in the blood cholesterol-raising substances. It may be time to switch to unbleached paper.
Or if you’re a fan of French pressed coffee, your java may not be so heart healthy as no papers filters are used either.
Another possible negative for some coffee drinkers- its effect on their digestive tracts can be a real irritant. Its acids are the culprit so even decaffeinated brews can lead to heartburn and gas. But coffee lovers who suffer can take heart: there are low acid coffees which can bring a pleasing taste without any pain.
As for the ingredient coffee is known for, caffeine, it is linked to adverse effects in some people with the amounts varying by circumstances being looked at. For example, for those who are planning to become pregnant or those who already are, keeping caffeine to a minimum is recommended as research is pointing to a higher risk of miscarriage with greater caffeine consumption.
In fact, Health Canada recommends that women of reproductive age consume no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day – the amount in two 6-oz cups of filtered coffee. Keep in mind that’s a small at Starbucks nowadays.
In excess, caffeine can also boost blood pressure readings so if you’re a coffee lover, moderating your regular coffee intake is a wise idea.
If you don’t like decaf, why not go for half decaf and half caffeine containing coffee. It’s easy to do both at home when you brew your java or at a coffee shop, simply ask for the combo.
If you are caffeine sensitive, be aware that decaffeinated does not mean caffeine-free. While the amounts may be small, if you drink a number of cups, it can add up. Tests done of decaf brews have shown that some samples contained as much as 13 milligrams of caffeine per cup, enough to produce adverse symptoms in caffeine sensitive individuals.
Caffeine sensitivity can vary from person to person, and can depend on their weight and age. And it’s also good to be aware that your sensitivity can change over time and boost caffeine’s effects.
Another bit of food for thought when looking at coffee and health is how you drink your cup of java. While coffee itself is calorie free, the variations now available can send your calorie totals skyrocketing. Even just one medium double-double (double cream and sugar) coffee at Tim Hortons a day can provide a whopping 76,600 calories a year. And then there are the specialty blended coffee offerings, with plenty of calories in cup sizes you could swim in.
To reap coffee’s health perks and avoid its drawbacks, you might want to assess your java habits.
Have you changed any of your coffee practices recently (less sugar etc.)? How long did it take you to adapt? Please share in the comment section below.