Health, Healthy Habits

The Many Reasons Why We Love (And Should Love!) the Drink of the Berries: Coffee

Cherise Sinclair in one of her books had quoted, “No matter what historians claimed, BC really stood for ‘Before Coffee’.” Few truer words have been spoken by people of the human race. Coffee is ambrosia to many people. It’s the aroma they wake up to every morning; it’s the thing that gives them the much-needed adrenaline kick to get started with the day. Some people use it to stay up late at night and fuel their creative dreams and thoughts, while some bonding over people they love a little less or more than coffee. Love it, hate it, you know coffee is one of the best drinks that are completely legal and sinfully delicious.

Just like there are several variants of tea, you will be surprised to know that your beloved coffee is available in more than the black and milky varieties. As much as it is loved all over the world, people still prefer adding a touch that is unique to their country or culture to the brew to make it more to their liking. Still, there are a number of people who consider it a sacrilege to muddy their pitch black, strong, and sweetened drink of black coffee, while some like theirs with a hint of milk and a dollop of whipped cream over it. If you are adventurous enough to give the other varieties of coffee a shot, then here are some of them for you!

  1. Drip or filtered coffee – Sworn as the best variety by people all over the world, it is quite the popular drink in South India, with just a touch of milk added to the brew to make it a little less bitter
  2. Turkish Coffee – A highly sweetened version of black coffee
  3. Latte – When a large proportion of milk is added to black coffee. There are many types of lattes that are available, some with added flavour such as hazelnut and vanilla.
  4. Macchiato – This is espresso coffee (the American term used to express back coffee) with just a dash of foamed milk added on top. The latte macchiato on the other hand had a larger quantity of steamed milk added to the drink. But rather than adding milk to the espresso, the order is reversed and the milk is ‘stained’ with shots of espresso, thus earning the drink the nickname ‘stained milk’.
  5. Cappuccino – One of the most popular variants of coffee after the black and espresso, this concoction is brewed with a lot of steamed and foamed milk added to the espresso

There are several other kinds of coffee available all over the world. The main difference lies in the way the coffee decoction is prepared (some instant, some using the drip method, some using steam and a piece of linen), and the quantity of milk and sugar added to it. Mocha, Cafe Cubano, Ristretto, Antoccino, cafe au lait, cortado, and breve are examples of some other kinds of coffees. If you are game to try something more adventurous in terms of drinking the brew, then you ought to try coffee mixed with other drinks, such as a combination of coffee and tea (believe it or not, this is a very popular drink that originated in Thailand!), coffee with alcohol (Gaelic, Irish, Brandy, and Jamaican coffee are a few brews you can sample to get the flavours of rum, whiskey, brandy, or even vodka along with coffee!), and egg coffee!

Wondering what on earth egg coffee is? A popular drink in Vietnam, this includes condensed milk, sugar, Robusta coffee, and egg yolks. A slightly naughtier version of this coffee would be the eggnog latte that includes eggnog (an alcoholic preparation of egg yolks, milk, and sugar) with espresso, and a touch of nutmeg for flavour. People who love going to the gym but sacrifice their cup of coffee in favour of downing egg yolks for protein can surely give the egg coffee a shot, with natural sweeteners such as jaggery!

Finally, let’s talk about that variety of chocolate that has made several coffee outlets in India popular dating spots – coffee with whipped cream and ice cream! Usually a kind of cappuccino, these milk-based coffees are topped with a generous amount of ice cream (it can be of any flavour such as vanilla, chocolate, pista, or even strawberry!) and soft, foamy whipped cream. The cream is thick enough to be scooped off with a spoon and enjoyed before the rest of the contents in the glass can be mixed and savoured for a long, long time. No wonder they say that a ‘lot can happen over coffee’!

Benefits of Coffee

There are many people who don’t consider coffee to be a safe or good drink. Some of them don’t like coffee because their medical conditions prevent them having it. Such people should certainly steer away from this brew because health should always be given preference over your taste buds! And there are other ways of getting your dose of caffeine, such as tiny coffee-based toffees and tea. Yes, tea too contains a small amount of caffeine! There are many however who think that coffee is not a safe drink at all, and they shouldn’t be having it even though there are no health reasons preventing them from doing so. This false impression about coffee is formed mainly based on the over-indulgence of the drink that many people do.

There are a number of people who forget that too much of a good thing can become bad too, and end up having more then 6-7 cups of coffee in a day. Coffee is great, but you don’t have to get addicted to it to such an extent that you must always have a cup of it in your hands! What’s more, the more you abuse the use of the drink, the more you are cutting down on its benefits and causing yourself harm! You see, coffee is not just a recreational drink, or a brew that you use to keep yourself awake. There are several health benefits that you can enjoy from your favourite drink, but only if consumed in limited quantities. Eager to know why coffee is a good guy in terms of health? Then here are some of the reasons:

  • Antioxidants – We need some chemical assistance to deal with the free radicals created in our body, when our digestive system breaks down the food and drinks we consume and the process of oxidization takes place. Free radicals are actually what cause us to age; they loosen our skin, cause wrinkles, cause our tissues to work slower and lesser, and slowly change the colour of our hair to grey or white. But thanks to antioxidants, the process of ageing is slowed. We remain younger, fitter, and more active than our age. Coffee when consumed in small amounts contains a lot of oxidants, and for people who don’t get the opportunity to eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, this is nothing short than a shot of good news!
  • Aroma – The concept of aromatherapy revolves mainly around herbs, flowers, and spices. It involves the relaxation of our mind and body because of the aromas given out by these natural factors. Studies conducted by some universities have found that when we inhale the fragrance that we love the most, we automatically cheer up and we have a lighter mind. This is because of the good chemicals released by our brain because of the aroma. The smell given off by a cup of freshly brewed coffee, especially those prepared from freshly ground coffee beans, is said to have a very pleasing and relaxing effect on our minds.
  • Mental illnesses – Antioxidants and the stimulants released by coffee in our body also have a positive effect on our mind. We think clearer, work more efficiently, and we have improved memory powers. It has been found that people who drink coffee in moderate amounts can keep at bay mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s too. Other mental illnesses that can be warded off with the use of coffee are dementia and Alzheimer’s. Coffee doesn’t cure these illnesses, but acts as a method of preventing them from ever setting in our minds. It is the perfect example of ‘prevention better than cure’ in such instances.

 

  • Liver protection – People who drink too much of alcohol have high chances of suffering from issues such as liver failure, cancer, and liver cirrhosis. These are undoubtedly very painful diseases, and the best way to prevent them from occurring is to abstain from alcohol abuse. People who are in early stage of liver failure, or who have misused their liver until now, have a chance to redeem themselves and help their organ to recover. By drinking a few cups of coffee or tea, you can help with the creation of fresh, un-abused tissues in your liver which can help it remain healthy for a longer time. People who don’t drink but suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (mainly caused because of lack of physical activities and consumption of fatty and greasy foods) can also benefit from regular consumption of coffee.

 

  • Cheerful mood – Thanks to the antioxidants released in our body after we’ve had coffee, we also feel happier because the cluttering chemicals in our body and mind are eradicated to a large extent, and stimulating neuro-chemicals such as dopamine and glutamate are released.

 

  • Diabetes – Those who consume coffee without overusing sugar are known to have better insulin production in their bodies, thus reducing the chances of them contracting diabetes.

 

  • Burn Fat – Boost your body’s metabolism rate with the help of coffee. Improved metabolism means better burning of fat that are hidden in those pockets which we rarely exercise. Eating only healthy things won’t make all the difference; one also needs to exert him/herself physically so that the body’s digestive system remains active to absorb all the nutrients, eliminate unnecessary fat, and remain pumped up to walk, jog, or play sports to tone our muscles. Coffee can motivate you to take that walk that you are feeling lazy about, and also prompt your body’s natural metabolism to work at a better pace regularly.

 

  • Nutrients – Riboflavin, niacin, manganese, magnesium, and pantothenic acid are some of the chemicals we need in order to function properly and stay nourished, just like we need iron, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Coffee contains a small amount of these chemicals, which may not be as easily found in any other food or drink. If you prefer white coffee, then you also benefit from the nutrients contained in mil, mainly calcium. Choose natural milk, rather than powdered milk for best effects.

A cup of freshly prepared coffee in the morning with your breakfast of oatmeal, toast, or even regular Indian breakfast fare consisting of idli-dosa, poha, rotis, and rice preparations is an excellent way to start the day fresh, energized, and with a clear mind. With so many benefits infused in it, coffee is more than just a delicious drink to sip during chilly evenings! It can be had every day. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with it, and let maintain a regular, healthy diet in addition to drinking coffee to enjoy your life to the fullest and best! Cheers to a great cup of coffee!

 

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