Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Benefits of Drinking Coffee


Put a pot of coffee on and grab your favorite mug. That cup of Joe in the morning isn’t as bad for you as you think. Here’s something to combat those comments that say coffee is harmful to your health.
If you’re anything like me, taking a thermos of the good stuff to work in the morning is almost essential for your day. In fact more than half of adults in the U.S., or 54 percent, are habitual coffee drinkers, according to the National Coffee Association. 146 billion cups of coffee are actually consumed in the U.S. each year. That’s nearly three times more than tea.
According to an issue of the Harvard Health Letter, coffee drinkers may be at lower risk for blood pressure, cancer, cholesterol, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
Coffee also contains antioxidants and in 2009, two coffee studies suggested that coffee-drinking men seemed to have a lower risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer than other men. Middle-aged people who drank moderate amounts of coffee — three to five cups a day — had the lowest risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life compared to less (or more) frequent drinkers.
Sadly with all of these benefits that come along with sipping that steaming cup of java, there are still some downsides to coffee
According to the web site myfoodapedia.gov, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, adding the extra trimmings will really cost you. A 6-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 7 calories, but dare I say add some half & half and you’ll get 46 calories.
If you favor your cup of Joe with a liquid nondairy creamer, that will set you back 48 calories. A teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories, and I don’t even want to get started about the extra calories in your favorite Frappuccino from Starbucks.
If you consume a lot of coffee, you may head to the bathroom more often. Caffeine is actually a mild diuretic which make you urinate a little more than you would without it. Coffee also contains acids that can make heartburn worse.
Unless you are caffeine sensitive, and you don’t mind the extra bathroom trip, drinking two or three cups of coffee a day is fine. It stimulates mental alertness, it has become a big part of American life, and to be honest, I just think it tastes good.

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