Coffee, Nature’s Surprising Superfood

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It’s the ever-popular beverage we can’t live without, yet few consume it without some guilt. But the wonderful truth is that coffee has abundant health benefits.

Coffee boasts more antioxidants than cocoa and tea, and even more than renowned antioxidant-rich fruits like oranges and blueberries.

In fact, there are hundreds of healing compounds in coffee. There are so many choices to make. What do you look out for when making your choice in coffee grinders encore vs capresso?

Wake Up To The Amazing Perks Of Coffee

It’s the ever-popular beverage we can’t live without, yet few consume it without some guilt. But the wonderful truth is that coffee has abundant health benefits.

Coffee boasts more antioxidants than cocoa and tea, and even more than renowned antioxidant-rich fruits like oranges and blueberries. In fact, there are hundreds of healing compounds in coffee.

Recent studies have shown that coffee consumption can significantly decrease or reduce the risk of many conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dental caries, diabetes, gallstone disease, and liver disease. Here are eight common health ailments and DIY at-home coffee cures.

Savor the different roasts, blends, flavored coffees and drinks that can be your best friend. But caution, consult your health care practitioner before putting to work any coffee cure.

1 DEPRESSION

(Lose the gloom and doom)

You may be one of the 10 percent of Americans experiencing a melancholy misery. No one is immune. The 21st century comes with a mixed bag of stressors, including from love problems or lack of love to money matters or no job.

Coffee Cure to Use: Try a 12-ounce cup of medium roast (City) and dark roast (Italian or French) two times each day. Better yet, make that organic java. Add milk and dark chocolate.

Why You’ll Be Perked Up! There is light at the end of the dark tunnel for gloom and doom times. Drinking a couple of cups of coffee can boost mood.

Also, adding milk, a mineral that can calm nerves and muscles, plus dark chocolate, which contains tryptophan, can help lessen anxiety and stress (which often are linked to depression).

2 FATIGUE

(Get a pick-me-up)

If you’re dragging your feet complaints may be more than less. After all, we need energy to work and play and enjoy life. If fatigue is due to lack of shut-eye or burning the candle at both ends, or trying to adapt to seasonal changes, coffee may come to your rescue.

Coffee Cure to Use:  Order a 16-ounce café mocha (with dark chocolate flavoring and dark chocolate shavings) at a coffee shop or make your own at home. (See recipe Seize the Day Café au Lait.)

Why You’ll Be Perked Up!:  It’s a fact: Caffeine boosts your mental and physical energy. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, like caffeine has as stimulating effect on the central nervous system.

Anandamide aka the “bliss chemical” occurs naturally in the brain and when released to our brain receptors can boost good feelings.  Millions of people every day get a jump-start in the morning by drinking a cup of coffee (or two) to enjoy that jolt so they can get a move on.

3 HANGOVER

(Say goodbye to the “ugh”)

Avoiding fatigue is probably easier than falling victim to a killer hangover. Paying the price of a headache after overindulgence of booze can and does happen from celebrating or escaping woes. Then, your body has to deal with feeling terrible.

Coffee Cure to Use:  Try one 12-ounce cup of medium roast coffee with one tablespoon of honey and an aspirin.

Why You’ll Be Perked Up!:  Coffee contains caffeine so if you team it with an aspirin it can work faster to help cure a headache.

A cup of coffee paired with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller may do the trick, blocking the headache compound culprit—acetate. Also, honey is rich in fructose and enzymes—which can boost metabolism of alcohol so you can shake that headache.

4 HEADACHE

(Stop the pain cold)

Hangovers are self-induced by overindulgence in alcohol, whereas, headaches are triggered by a mixed bag of reasons. Ironically, caffeine—found in coffee—is a one common trigger to headaches—but it can also help to make the pain go away.

Coffee Cure to Use:  A cappuccino or café mocha can be helpful, too, due to its magnesium, which can help alleviate headaches. Also, keep your coffee intake steady and timely.

Why You’ll Be Perked Up!:  The link between coffee and headaches is a tricky one. New York Headache Center’s Dr. Alexander Mauskop, M.D., says that when drank infrequently in small amounts, regular coffee (not decaf) can be helpful in treating tension headaches.

“This is because caffeine has some pain-killing properties, gets to the brain quickly and helps in the absorption of other medications,” he explains. But note, if you’re predisposed to having headaches, the limit is one cup a day, adds Dr. Mauskop.

5 JET LAG

(Perk up to a smooth post flight)

Jet lag happens when we disrupt our normal “circadian” rhythms that help us wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night.

Drinking coffee helps counter the effects caused by jet lag and helps us to function normally by improving our ability to communicate and to boost our short-term memory.

So, when we have to take a jet plane can java juice help us get through the imbalance of your body and mind?

Coffee Cure to Use:  Drink small amounts (2-ounce or 4-ounce) of medium roast brew on a regular basis during the day both at your new destination and also when you return home.

Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: Caffeine, a primary ingredient in coffee, can help you to fight the jet lag blues, thanks to the hypothalamus gland, the main control center of the body clock in the brain, by shifting into a patter that fits in with the time zone of our destination.

6 WATER RETENTION

(Blast the bloat)

Bloating can hit when you’re upset, are PMS-ing and retaining water, during the “pause” thanks to shifting hormones, and even when you’re eating the wrong foods.

Not only is bloat frustrating when your stomach is too puffy to wear your skinny jeans or favorite dress, but it’s also often uncomfortable.

Coffee Cure to Use:   Try an 8-ounce cup or two of black medium roast with a slice or two of lemon. Drink a glass of water for a double effect. Also, pair a cup of coffee with a piece of fresh water-dense fruit.

Why You’ll Be Perked Up! Drinking bloat-busting lemony coffee, a natural diuretic because of its caffeine, citrus, and water content, will help alleviate pesky water retention that causes bloating. Plus, the potassium in fruit can help counteract unwanted sodium and bloat, too.

7 UNIVERSAL EMERGENCY AID

(Savor the buzz)

Wanting to rid of water weight before a holiday event may seem like an ER time, but a real emergency can rock your boat.

Blackouts, earthquakes, and severe storms can make it seem like your world has ended as you once knew it. Before or after, a cup of coffee may seem like godsend to help you feel normal and hang in there.

Coffee Cure to Use: Opt for a 12-ounce cup of instant coffee (flavored is a good choice).

Why You’ll Be Perked Up! Coffee is comforting and energizing.

These perks will help you keep awake and able to keep on top of the latest news, and help you stay calm but prepared. Plus, if you don’t have electricity, instant coffee (water heated on a gas stove) will provide you with that much wanted java jolt.

Seize The Day Café Au Lait

* * *
2/3 cup low-fat (2 percent) milk
2/3 cup hot, brewed French or other dark roast) coffee
2 teaspoons chocolate-flavored syrup
Grated chocolate, or freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a small saucepan combine the milk, chocolate syrup, and almond extract until blended. Bring just to a boil over medium-low heat. Pour the milk mixture and coffee simultaneously into a French café au lait bowl or large coffee cup.

Top with grated chocolate or freshly ground nutmeg, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

(Source: Courtesy: Coffee Science Organization.)

Health-Boosting Nutrients In Java Juice

Researchers continue to find new health-promoting nutrients in coffee—which has more than 1,000 compounds.

Here are several mighty antioxidants that researchers know are in a cup of coffee and coffee lovers should meet to lower the odds of developing specific diseases and ailments.

Caffeic acid: one of the most powerful antioxidants linked to coffee’s good for you benefits

Chlorogenic acid:  like caffeic acid this another potent antioxidant and touted in health studies

Flavonoids:  a group of plant compounds that boast antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-allergy properties

Lignans: plant compounds with protective action against cancers, especially hormone-related like breast, and prostate cancers

Polyphenols:  natural compounds that act as powerful antioxidants that protect your body by trapping the free-radical molecules and getting rid of them before damage occurs

Proanthocyanidins: plant compounds helpful in preventing degenerative disease; powerful antioxidants that are stronger than vitamins C and E; help protect against the effects of environmental stressors, including cigarette smoking, pollution

Trigonelline: is another antioxidant in coffee which is linked to aroma, taste, and antibacterial properties

Eye-Opening Coffee Tidbits

Since the process of bean to cup goes through an amazing experience to give mankind coffee’s healing powers, it makes sense to provide coffee facts revealing its wow factor.

1. Coffee is the second most-traded product in the world (after petroleum).

2. 35% of coffee drinkers prefer black coffee; 65% prefer to add cream and/or sugar.

3. Women say that drinking coffee “is a good way to relax,” while men indicate that coffee “helps them get the job done.”

4. Coffee beans are actually berries. Coffee’s botanical classification as a fruit helps explain its high level of health antioxidants.

5. Coffee grows in more than 50 countries, and Hawaii is the only coffee-producing state.
(Reprint permission excerpts from The Healing Powers of Coffee: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Surprising Superfood, by Cal Orey, published by Kensington, July 31, 2012.)

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Author’s Bio

Cal Orey, M.A., is an accomplished author and journalist specializing in topics such as health, science, pets, and relationships. Her hugely successful Healing Powers book series include The Healing Powers of Honey, The Healing Powers of Chocolate, The Healing Powers of  Vinegar, and The Healing Powers of Olive Oil (all published by Kensington). She lives in Northern California. Her website is www.calorey.com .

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