COFFEE - THE WORLD BEAN
Perhaps we are too careless about those cups/glasses of coffee drinks. Everywhere you go, people are 'meeting for a coffee' to discuss business matters or simply for a chat. Many of us measure out our lives with coffee spoons. But the burning question becomes, is coffee good for you? If you are a coffee addict, you may not like some of the answers. Stop reading and delete this study right now.
Coffee , the magic beans?
After oil, coffee is the world's second most traded commodity and it is grown by about 7 million farmers in 80 countries around this world. The global coffee crop is worth 8 billion dollars (year 2000 figures) and for some countries it represent nearly 75% of their entire export earning.
What is it about the coffee bean of this tree that makes it so popular> It is probably the little "lift" that comes with each cup. Right?
When you ingest coffee you also take in the 1-2 per cent of caffeine that it contains. When it comes from coffee caffeine is quickly absorbed into your blood stream. caffeine is known to stimulate the brain areas associated with conscious mental processes. Thoughts become clearer and fatigue decreases.
The problem is, these "benefits" last only a short time, from 15 to 45 minutes, so you have to go back for more cups/glasses of coffee. Unfortunately, te negative effects of coffee consumption can last much longer.
In the long term coffee can actually cause anxiety, insomnia and depression. The caffeine binds to receptors in your brain that are normally occupied by a brain chemical known as 'anandamine.'
Anandamine is a feel-good chemical and, when caffeine blocks it, the lack of good feelings can result in depression. So despite short-term stimulation, or artificial stimulation at that, coffee when consumed chronically can actually cause depression of mood.
Those stimulating actions of coffee can also lift blood pressure, and coffee consumption above two to three cups per day may raise cholesterol levels. This is due to the dehydrating effects of caffeine, hence the body will protect itself from cells premature death by producing more cholesterol to safeguard those affected cells by surrounding them. The blood tests with high blood cholesterol or high blood pressure were mistakenly interpreted as high bad cholesterol. The fact is this, those cholesterol were used by the body to salvage those cells from further dehydration due to the caffeine overdose-dehydration effects .
Coffee is also a diuretic, meaning that it increase urination. This physiology is due to the body's function to detox itself and to prevent overstay of caffeine in the system. As a result excessive coffee consumption causes the loss of many vital nutrient through the kidneys, including calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. Additionally, coffee reduce absorption of iron. Underweight people are to avoid all caffeine products, coke and sodas.
For pregnant women it seems that caffeine consumption above 600 milligrams a day is linked to lower birth weight. (Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, 157, 2003, pp.456-66, M.B. Bracken et al.)
There are also suggestions that caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women who are not cigarette smokers but drink 100 milligram or more caffeine per day. (Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 343(25), 21 December 2000, pp.1839-45, S. Cnattingius et al.)
Caffeine content of coffee and tea:
Beverage (Caffeine content,per cup (237ml/8 oz))
Drip filter coffee (123-160 mg)
Brewed coffee (85-144 mg)
Instant coffee (43-70 mg)
Tea (3-minute brew) (56 mg)
Tea (1-minute brew) (32 mg)
Instant decaf coffee (3-5 mg)
Source: Adapted from M.Murray, Stress,Anxiety and Insomnia, prima, Rocklin,USA, 1995.
However, testing at a Seattle lab in the USA indicated that 1 & 3/4 ounces of an espresso brewed for 27 seconds contained 230 mg of caffeine.
COFFEE HARDENS THE HUMAN HEART
Coffee is no lover of your heart. It seems that the amount of caffeine in just one cup of coffee is enough to harden a person's arteries by reducing artery responsiveness for several hours after consumption. (www.jpscoffee.com/Caffeine, 15 March 2003). hardened arteries, or atherosclerosis, put extra pressure on the heart and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. You must be careful with caffeine, especially if you are having high blood pressure now. Quit coffee and drink water following the water-cure protocol formula to bring your blood pressure back to normal.
It has been shown that after drinking a cup of coffee, blood pressure can rise up to 5 or even 10 millimetres of mercury. (Source;(C.Vlachopoulos et al., European Society of cardiology Congress, September 2001, reported in Reuters Health Information, 4 September, 2001.)
In one study, 10 healthy volunteers were given either inactive placebo capsules or capsules containing 100 milligrams of caffeine ( the equivalent to one cup of plunger coffee). On another day the volunteers received the opposite capsule from their previous dosage. They found that this amount of caffeine increased wave reflection, which is a measure of arterial stiffness, for at least two hours. The researchers concluded that regular impacts like this would significantly increase risk of stroke or heart attack. If this news has you coffee lovers in mourning, there's more bad news to come. Quit reading now, if you don't plan to quit caffeine or any coffee for your body's sake.
A study in Norway, has found that coffee drinkers who quit the habit cut their blood levels of cholesterol and a chemical called homocysteine. Both substances are known risk factors for heart disease. It is known that some compounds in coffee, called terpenoids, increase cholesterol levels but there has been some debate until now as to whether coffee increases heart disease risk. (Source: B.Christensen et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 74, 2001, pp.302-7).
This study found that filtered and unfiltered coffee affects both cholesterol and homocysteine levels.
The researchers took blood samples from 191 non-smoking coffee drinkers aged between 24 and 69. The otherwise healthy volunteers were split into three groups - one group consumed no coffee, another had one to three cups per day and the third group drank more than four cups of coffee each day.
After six weeks participants abstaining from coffee showed a 10 per cent decrease in homocysteine levels and a decrease in cholesterol levels of 0.28 millimoles per litre. Result: that coffee consumption may be associated with low folic acid intake or affect metabolism of this vitamin, therefore raising homocysteine levels.
Also, when coffee is abstain, the dehydration effects had been greatly reduced , hence the body need not produce more cholesterol which is used to "protect" other fragile cells from premature death.
REMEDIES FOR THE COFFEE ADDICT
Without doubt the best alternative to coffee is a dandelion root beverage. By having a cup of dandelion in preference to coffee you are skipping your caffeine hit and getting a tonic for your liver - which, incidentally, has to work harder when you drink coffee.
Even though many drinkers drink coffee and enjoy not only the taste (addiction) but also the social aspects and ambience's that surround this charismatic beverage, there is a long term perspecive they have to face in reality: the body health. Still ,in puritanical sense, your best health option is to give up coffee altogether.
For those of you who just can't face that terrifying prospect, at least support your body wisely. replace your third and fourth cups of coffee each day with beverage like dandelion. You will be glad you do it now.
Additionally, take a good mineral supplement contains the mineral chromium, which helps with sugar metabolism, and also take a good vitamin B supplement.
Try a calming herb like Valerian to get the good night's sleep your coffee-hyped system may be denying you. Use a liver support like dandelion or milk-thistle herb to support your hard-working liver.
To lower the excess cholesterol that coffee raises try to increase your water intake and intake of fresh fruit and green vegetables. You may not fancy them, but your body need them badly now. For each cup of coffee intake , replenish your system with another three cups of plain water daily.
Finally , drink plenty of water to replace what is going out through the kidneys.
Of course, coffee's partner in crime against your body is the deliciously naughty chocolate. Although chocolate of late has a bad-boy reputation among foods, some people claims are being made also lately that chocolate may actually be good for you. 'Could this possibly be so?'
CHOCOLATE - DARK MOTHER OR HEALING ANGEL?