Humm... the smell of coffee ...who can resist it? If you allow me, I'll get a little personal for it reminds me of my childhood. I was born in Santos, which is the largest port in Latin America, from where Brazilian coffee is exported. Arriving there, one can smell the aroma of coffee beans that come from the warehouses around the port. So, for me, it is impossible to smell a freshly prepared espresso without having a series of good memories passing through my mind.
Emotions aside, is coffee good or bad, after all? There is so much talk about it that you may feel puzzled. So, let's keep things into perspective. Being aware of pros and cons, you can make decisions that suit you best.
On one hand, coffee has antioxidants – those compounds that neutralize free radicals in our body preventing damage to our cells and tissues. It is also linked to better mental and physical performance and it can be helpful to improve bowel movement. In addition, coffee is a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in the gut. On the other hand, you have to keep in mind that having many beneficial functions in the body, it does not mean it prevents any health condition. This is true for any food or drink.
Despite the fact that people metabolize coffee differently, there are some general guidelines for you to get the most benefits out of your cup of coffee in the context of a balanced diet.
You can have coffee regularly, but moderately. In other words: don't live on coffee (less than 300 mg per day).
- Coffee is a diuretic; so remember to drink plenty of water to compensate the fluids you are losing.
- Along with the water, some minerals such as calcium and magnesium are lost when you drink coffee; so make sure to eat foods rich in these minerals on a regular basis. Some examples are almonds, tahini, spinach, broccoli.
- Avoid using coffee as a "pick me up". If you are doing this continuously, it can be more harmful than good as caffeine raises cortisol levels.
- Be careful of what you have with your coffee: refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, chantilly are not good companions. Some coffee drinks can have more calories than a full meal.
- If coffee makes you too wired, avoid drinking it after lunch so you can sleep well.
Always remember: food goes beyond nutrients and phytochemicals. It is part of being social and celebrating life. Arabica or Robusta, Brazilian or Colombian, espresso or cappuccino: pick-up your favourite and celebrate Coffee Month with family and friends, creating good memories that will last a lifetime. Cheers!