Whether you enjoy a lovely home-brewed cup, or like to venture out to your local coffee retailer, the UK loves its coffee. Surveys conducted by The British Coffee Association and Mintel UK report that in 2008 us Brits drank approximately 70 million cups of the stuff a day! Yes, a day! They also reported that in 2012 the amount spent on retail coffee alone broke the £1 billion mark. Now that is a hell of a lot of coffee consumption. Everyone has their favourite instant brand, including the likes of Nescafe, Kenco and Douwe Edberts. Due to our growing love for coffee along with the occasional meet up with friends the giant coffee corporations such as Starbucks and Costa also aren’t doing too badly either.
Coffee drinking has become so popular in recent years that everyone I meet seems to be a pro! I like to think I know a little about how to make a good cup of coffee from working in various different coffee shops, but even I am overwhelmed by all the different mechanisms there are out there to help you perfect your coffee. I’m not taking about the standard coffee makers. I’m talking about the likes of the chemex brewer and the single cup cone. Heard of them? No, neither have I. But all the independent coffee shops that keep popping up on high-street corners are well equipped with the newest gear, eager to teach their customers how to use them. There is even a new coffee shop on Temple Row that uses a Bunsen burner. Coffee making really is a science art.
With coffee consumption continuously popping up in the news recently, I thought I’d share we you some of my interesting and beneficial finds on how coffee consumption may actually be quite good for you…
Coffee is full of antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-depressive properties
Antioxidants are small chemicals that prevent free radicals (other types of chemicals) from damaging our cells. Such damage could lead to cancer. A study by the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, has indicated that our bodies can actually absorb more antioxidants from coffee than we can from fruit and vegetables. The National Institute of Health have also conducted a study demonstrating that people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day are 10% less likely to be depressed.
Many coffee drinks contain fewer calories and better health benefits than smoothies
Yes, smoothies can be good for you and do boast many healthy properties, but it completely depends on how it is made. For instance, removing the peel of some fruits, along with mashing them up, actually cause a loss of important fibres and many other health benefits such as antioxidants. What you’re left with is a highly sugary drink. Out of 52 commercial smoothies tested, 41 contained more sugar than a 12oz can of coke. That’s the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar! Depending on your choice of coffee drink, they will usually contain far less calories than a smoothie. For example, a small cappuccino contains around 70 calories per cup, while a latte contains around 150. Of course, if you’re counting your calories, the number one choice would be an Americano or a classic cup of the good old instant stuff.
Coffee can make you a better athlete
A study by the Spanish Antidoping Agency in Spain demonstrated that drinking coffee increases the number of fatty acids in your bloodstream. Your muscles can then absorb these fatty acids and burn them as fuel, maintaining your stocks of carbohydrates for later. So if you are taking part in a mudrun or an endurance course soon, I recommend having a cup of coffee before you set off.
Coffee drinkers have demonstrated ‘cleaner’ arteries
A recent study in Korea has suggested that regular coffee drinkers tend to have cleaner arteries caused by the prevention of blockage. They conducted medical scans looking for calcium deposits in the walls of coronary arteries, the tell-tale sign of the development of heart disease. Those that regularly drank coffee presented with less deposits than those who did not regularly drink coffee.
Coffee can improve intelligence and help to keep your brain healthier for longer
Now, this one may seem too good to be true but just bare with me. The Medical University in Austria have shown that drinking coffee helps to improve several factors related to intelligence including, reaction time, vigilance, attention and logical reasoning. Pretty good huh! What’s more, studies by the University of South Florida and the University of Miami demonstrated that regular coffee drinkers over the age of 65 were likely to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by 2-4 years.
Moral of the story? Coffee really isn’t that bad for you, especially in moderation. There is no daily recommend limit for safe coffee consumption in the UK, but it’s an obvious to say that too much coffee would reverse all of the above mentioned beneficial factors. Some studies obviously need further testing and validation; however, the preliminary results show that coffee is not as bad as we all once thought. So if you’re feeling like you need a little pick-me-up don’t turn against it, go and make yourself a cup coffee! Go on, I know you want to!
Thank you for taking to time to read my blog. As always, if you have any comments or would like to discuss any of the text please feel free to comment below 🙂