Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, and there are many opinions you can read whether it is healthy or not, but there are some pretty good news based on scientific research for people like us, who really love the magic of coffee.
The latest researches not only state that coffee is not bad for us, on the contrary, it might have some very good influence on our health – it is correlated with improved cardiovascular health, lower incidence of type 2 diabetes and reduced incidence of various oncological problems.
So many consider tea as the health beverage, but if you do a bit of research and look for strong medical evidence, you will find much more correlations to health benefits for coffee than proved benefits of tea consumption. While tea has antioxidants as well, there has been less correlated evidence of those benefits than for coffee.
THE BIGGEST COFFEE LOVERS
Many might be convinced that the world’s biggest coffee consumers are Italians, for the notoriety of the Italian coffee culture. The biggest consumers actually are the Scandinavian countries, like Finland and Sweden. You can see HERE the list and consumption of the TOP 10.
It might seem Italians and Spaniards drink coffee throughout the day but it is typical to drink shorter beverages, like espresso. One espresso might contain about 7 to 8 grams of ground coffee, whereas Northern Europeans tend to drink filter coffee, so a longer drink which requires more ground coffee, one cup of 200ml would contain 12g of coffee.
Historically there has been a huge incentive in the society of the Scandinavian countries to consume coffee instead of alcohol. Also some religious figures in the past have advised to substitute alcohol for coffee. That is why coffee nowadays is consumed when spending time with friends and colleagues or even when returning home from a long work day. At one point in history the Scandinavians were consuming12 cups of filter coffee per day! That is how the Norther European countries became the world’s biggest coffee consumers.
IS COFFEE HEALTHY?
Coffee is a fantastic and fascinating product, and its greatest benefits and most potent antioxidants are created during the roasting process.
There are some researches pointing out that coffee is the biggest antioxidant source in the people’s diet, contributing a MUCH higher % of antioxidants even compared to fruit and vegetables. You can check this one, for example, quite exciting numbers there – Coffee, maté, açaí and beans are the main contributors to the antioxidant capacity of Brazilian’s diet. There are also a few researches that indicate coffee is the biggest antioxidant in the Scandinavian diet as well.
Coffee has been praised and had its bad reputation throughout its history, but more and more researches are being published on long-year studies giving insight on the excellent properties of caffeine as a mind stimulant, maintaining our mind young for longer, lowering incidence of Alzheimer, Parkinson, improving our mood, but it’s not only about caffeine.
Roasted coffee still contains some chlorogenic acids from the green coffee known for their antioxidative properties, and melanoidins that are created during roasting though the Maillard reaction. It is still not very clear how and which specific substances are the most potent, but coffee consumption has been correlated with lower incidence of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes.
And a very interesting and positive point for coffee is that it has shown to have an anti-depressive effect. We must agree that this is especially important today.
QUALITY AND HOW YOU DRINK IT
Of course everything that we consume has to be of good quality. There is still anti-oxidative potential even in soluble coffee, but why not just start with the best quality product, whole coffee beans freshly ground in the morning to have the best taste and health benefits too, right?
First, remember that arabica and robusta are two very different coffee species. To find out more about their differences, you can read all about it on my Coffee and wine journal post. You can also find out about the quality and terroir of coffee, that is fundamental in the moment of choosing your favourite coffee.
Although, decaffeinated coffee does lack the mind activating and clearing substance of caffeine, it has shown antioxidant properties just like regular coffee. There are some people who genetically tend to digest caffeine much slower than others, that might lead to sleeplessness and nervous jitters, so it is pretty fantastic news to those who can just drink decaf!
Remember though, coffee should be drunk in its natural form – black- without the addition of sugar or milk, or any other substances, to have the best chance of the antioxidants giving us positive effects.