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Cup of Joe

August 3, 2009

“The best part of waking up …” This slogan may not be used anymore, but it still applies for many people (my mother and husband included) who can’t start their day without a cup of coffee. For years researchers believed that coffee was the cause of multiple diseases, including heart disease and cancer while others have raved about the health benefits of coffee. So is all the coffee that Americans drink really okay for them?

I was recently catching up on some of my nutrition magazines and found a great article in Today’s Dietitian about current coffee trends and benefits. Trends listed in the article, written by fellow dietitian Sharon Palmer, include:

  • Movement toward single-origin coffee
  • Environmental and trade issues
  • Roasting process of coffee
  • Changing coffee consumption during the economic downturn

And it seems as if every day there is news about the health benefits of coffee. Just today I saw an article about coffee’s benefits in the NIH August newsletter. While some people, like those with ulcers, reflux, and sleep disorders, should stay away from coffee, others who were previously concerned about the popular beverage can breathe a sigh of relief. Coffee has been shown to be beneficial for those with type-2 diabetes, liver cancer, and other diseases. Most probably these benefits are due to the high level of antioxidants found in coffee.

It’s good to know that coffee has so many benefits, so go out and enjoy a cup of joe … or two!

Keep in mind:

  • Today’s popular coffee drinks are full of calories and fat. Stick to a plain brewed cup, a latte, or cappucino made with skim or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • You may get a lot of antioxidants from coffee, but don’t ditch those fruits and veggies just yet. They’ll provide you with antioxidants and fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Switch to decaf in the afternoon. Even if you don’t have problems sleeping, the caffeine in regular coffee can keep you up at night. Decaf still has some caffeine, but not nearly as much as regular coffee (5 mg vs 135 mg, respectively).

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