I'll never forget my first latte. I was with my son at a waterfront coffee shop in Scottsdale, Arizona. For some inexplicable reason, I'd let over fifty years slip by before enjoying a cup of coffee. But after savoring just a few sips of this new and delectable concoction, I was in awe. Coffee wasn't just a beverage; it was an experience! I now look forward to a coffee date with the same anticipation I once had for happy hour — and I'm getting into far less trouble!
photo credit Shutterstock (edited)
Coffee (like our equally delicious friend, chocolate) was once shunned as an unhealthy indulgence. But today's research shows that moderate coffee consumption can be good for our health:
Coffee contains antioxidants, which protect our cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. Drinking two to four cups of coffee a day is associated with a decreased risk of early death from numerous causes, including heart disease and stroke.
Coffee consumption may reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and certain cancers (like uterine, breast, colorectal, prostate, lung, and skin cancer).
Both tea and coffee contain compounds that protect the body's central filtration system and preserve your liver.
The caffeine in coffee and other beneficial compounds may delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimers.
We all knew it, but research now confirms it — coffee makes you perk up and feel happy!
Despite its awesomeness, coffee isn't perfect for everyone (especially those sensitive to caffeine). And you'll be negating the benefits if you load up your coffee with sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or creamers. But this doesn't mean it has to be boring. I make a delicious latte with organic whole milk (preferably grass-fed) and I'll sometimes sprinkle a little cinnamon or pumpkin spice on top.
Although not everything we eat or drink has to be organic, coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops globally. Buying organic ensures your brew is free from herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides — which is kinder to farmers, the environment, and you! One final caution is to let your coffee cool a little before drinking. Some studies have shown a link between drinking scorching drinks and esophageal cancer.
Unfortunately, even the healthiest coffee isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Ironically, the same roasting process that makes coffee so delicious also causes a natural by-product named acrylamide, a known carcinogen. But don't let this freak you out. Coffee contains very little acrylamide, and you would have to drink an outlandish amount of coffee to come close to a dangerous level.
So now we know the scary part isn't so bad after all; let's get back to the warm and fuzzy feeling we get whenever we spy a coffee shop. I wouldn't feel comfortable eating in a restaurant by myself. But I have no qualms about being alone in a coffee shop. It feels like a home-away-from-home, where we're bound by our mutual joy in coffee!
"Coffee with a friend is like capturing happiness in a cup."
So, how did coffee change my life? At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned the similarity (for me) between happy hour and a coffee date. I indulged in too much of the prior before I discovered the pleasure of the latter (or latte - ha-ha). Now, it's lovely to have found the same camaraderie in the coffee shop that I once had at the bar. And that's why coffee has become more than just a beverage and turned into a lifestyle I'm loving — that loves me back!