Posts Tagged ‘HealthWise Coffee’

National Coffee Day

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The National Coffee Association credits Kaldi, a goatherder, with discovering coffee in the highlands of Ethiopia. It is said that he discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, after eating berries from a certain tree, became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night.

A local monastery then made a drink with the berries which kept him alert for long hours of evening prayer, and soon the knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread. The consumption of coffee spread across the Arabian peninsula, and eventually across the globe. Today coffee is grown all over the world, but all locations can trace their heritage to the ancient Ethiopian coffee forests.

The Arabs were the first to begin the cultivation of coffee and its trade. By the 16th century, it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, and was consumed in homes and many public coffee houses. With thousands of pilgrims traveling to Mecca each year from all over the world, coffee started making its way back to Europe.

Coffee houses soon became centers of social activity, and were known as “penny universities” in England, as for one penny a person could purchase a cup of coffee and engage in stimulating conversation. Tea continued to be the favored drink in the New World, until 1773 when the colonists revolted against the heavy tea taxes, and preferences began to shift to coffee.

As demand continued to spread, so did competition for cultivating coffee outside Arabia. The Dutch finally succeeded in obtaining seedlings, and they were successful on the island of Java.  Other countries began to gain access to seedlings, and in just 100 years, coffee became a commodity crop around the world. By the end of the 1700s, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops.

Fast forward to today, and coffee is a $30 billion industry worldwide. In the US, almost 83% of Americans drink coffee, which amounts to over 500 million cups per day.  Happy National Coffee Day!

Caffeinated Coffee May Help Retain New Memories

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

One newly-discovered perk of coffee is that it may help in retaining new memories. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University and UC- Irvine, people drinking at least two cups of caffeinated coffee daily may be better able to form certain kinds of memories than those who do not.

Young adults who don’t drink much coffee and hadn’t had any that day were recruited for the experiment and were shown a variety of pictures of objects, then asked whether the picture depicted an indoor or outdoor item. Soon after viewing the pictures, the subjects took either a caffeine pill (two cups of coffee worth) or a placebo.

The next day, they returned to the lab and were shown images and asked to label the ones that were repeats from the previous day. Some of the pictures were obvious additions, but some were subtle changes not readily recognized. Those subjects who had taken the caffeine pill were much more adept at picking out the subtle differences.

One cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine did not show a noticeable difference from the placebo, and three cups showed the same effect as two. Read more here!

Caffeine May Reduce Tinnitus, Ringing in Ears

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Drinking coffee may be good for your hearing, a new study suggests. Women who consumed higher amounts of caffeine were found to be less likely to have tinnitus, which is a steady ringing or buzzing in the ears.

The research included more than 65,000 American women aged 30-44, who did not have tinnitus in 1991 and were followed for 18 years. Women who consumed less than 150 mg of caffeine per day (about 1.5 cups of coffee) were 15% more likely to develop tinnitus than those who consumed 450-600 mg daily. Most of the caffeine consumed came from coffee, according to the study published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

While the exact reason why caffeine seems to have this effect is unknown, it is known that it stimulates the central nervous system and has had a direct effect on the inner ears of animals in previous studies.

What is Chlorogenic Acid?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Chlorogenic Acid (CLA) has been found to be one of the main protective factors in a variety of recent studies examining the health benefits of coffee - from liver to eye health. CLA is one of the powerful antioxidants found in coffee beans, and is also found in strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and sunflower seeds.

Chlorogenic acid has been shown to inhibit an enzyme that promotes the formation of glucose (sugar) in the liver. Hence, chlorogenic acid in coffee may be responsible, in part, for the reduction of glycemic disorders like diabetes.

Various studies have also indicated chlorogenic acid slows the absorption of fat from food intake and also activates metabolism of extra fat. Chlorogenic acid is more potent in green coffee beans before they are roasted, but is also found in brewed coffee.

Caffeine and Exercise

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

With summer in full swing, many people are more active than they were in the winter months - with bike rides, runs, or other activities outside. Did you know that coffee can help you get more out of your workouts? Here are 5 ways it can help:

Improved Circulation

Recent research studied the effects of coffee on circulation in people who were not regular coffee drinkers. Participants in the study drank either caffeinated or decaf coffee, and then scientists gauged finger blood flow, to see how well their smaller blood vessels were working. Those who drank the caffeine had a 30% increase in blood flow over a 75 minute period, compared to those who had decaf. Better circulation can mean a better workout - muscles need oxygen!

Less Pain

Scientists at the University of Illinois found that consuming the equivalent in caffeine of 2-3 cups of coffee before 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise reduced perceived muscle pain. Caffeine may then help you push a little bit harder during workouts, resulting in better muscle strength and endurance.

Better Memory

A study published from Johns Hopkins University found that caffeine enhances memory up to 24 hours after it’s consumed.  In this study, two groups (those who drank caffeine and those who did not) were asked to remember images over a 24 hour span, and the caffeinated group scored better. This can help during workouts where remembering exercises or routines is necessary.

Muscle Preservation

In a study with animals, scientists found that caffeine helped offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. These protective effects were seen in the diaphragm, the muscle used for breathing, and in skeletal muscles.  These results indicate that caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries!

More Muscle Fuel

A little caffeine post-exercise may be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. Compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66% increase in muscle glycogen four hours after exercise. Glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that gets stored in muscle, and serves as a vital “piggy bank” during exercise. Greater reserves means you’re able to exercise harder and longer.

While caffeine appears to offer several exercise benefits, keep in mind it’s important to drink plenty of water as well!

3 Ways to Get the Most “Health” Out of Your Coffee

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

cup

While coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants in the US diet and has been known to help prevent many diseases, there are a few other factors that can give you an even greater benefit:

1.       The Roast: The antioxidant effects of coffee are related to compounds called chlorogenic acids. Roasting green coffee beans turns these acids into antioxidants, but if you keep roasting them, they can break down again. So, lighter roasts tend to have higher antioxidant contents than darker ones. Also, choosing a roast that is low in acid (like Healthwise!) is easier on your digestive system, and helps lock in more of the natural vitamins and minerals of the coffee.

2.       The Storage: Roasted coffee beans contain free radicals, which increase the longer beans are exposed to air. As free radical levels rise, some antioxidants in the beans are spent fighting to stabilize them, which reduces the antioxidant level that is consumed. So, store your beans in an airtight container like this one, and don’t grind them until you’re ready to brew (if using whole beans).

3.       The Cup: How do you usually drink your coffee? Black coffee is extremely nutritious, but anything you add is diminishing to its benefits. Adding sugar and creamers add unwanted calories, and a new study from Croatia suggests that milk can reduce the antioxidant levels. Artificial sweeteners, while often calorie-free, can be laced with chemicals. If you’re looking for some added flavor, try sprinkling on some ground cinnamon.

Can Coffee Help Keep You Honest?

Monday, April 21st, 2014

sleep

We know coffee has many health benefits for our bodies, but what about when it comes to our personalities? A new study by three college professors actually shows that drinking coffee can keep you more honest!

Researchers found that two cups of coffee can make workers more ethical. The study’s co-author Michael Christian said people often think of the “best” employees in a workplace as ones who are working nonstop. However, those are the ones who are often making the worst ethical choices. Being sleep-deprived or not thinking clearly can affect decisions, and caffeine can give those tired individuals the extra energy they need to resist that unethical behavior.

During the study, two groups of volunteers were kept awake all night. In the morning, one group was given a placebo piece of gum, while another was given gum laced with 200 mg of caffeine (about 2 cups of coffee worth). Both groups were then encouraged to go along with a lie in order to earn some extra money, in order to replicate a workplace situation where someone was asked to cut corners. As for the results, those with the placebo (no caffeine) showed a marked willingness to go along with the deception versus those who ingested the caffeine. It appears that caffeine can help strengthen your will power and control when you’re exhausted.

In terms of the workplace, this study shows that employers who want to reduce the chance of unethical behavior should make sure people aren’t working too many hours, and even suggests nap rooms! Most Americans sleep about 5.5 hours per night, on average, and the clinical definition of sleep deprivation is anything under seven hours.

This study was published in the March issue of Journal of Applied Psychology and you can read more here!

Coffee Sip Size Can Affect Flavor

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

smell

Are you a coffee sipper or gulper? One study shows that taking larger sips of coffee give the best flavor, since more aroma is released compared to during smaller sips. The study looked at “sip volume” and found that larger sips have a higher aroma releases. The researchers were from the University of Naples and pointed out the well-known correlation between smell and taste, and that one can have a significant impact on the other.

This advice does go against that for other drinks, such as wine, where people are advised to take small sips to get the maximum flavor and aroma. These findings were published in the journal “Food Research International.”

Coffee May Help with Liver Disease

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Evidence is showing that coffee may prevent and mitigate liver disease, even among people who may not realize they have the disease. Several studies spanning the past 15-20 years have shown that coffee helps prevent liver inflammation, which is often tied to Hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. It’s unclear whether caffeine or other ingredients of coffee are responsible for the benefits, but one study in Japan showed that green tea failed to have the same effects.

Obesity is a leading cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which many Americans have but don’t realize, up to 10-15% of the population. Usually liver diseases don’t show symptoms until the liver actually fails, though.  While coffee alone can’t treat liver disease, consuming a moderate daily amount of unsweetened coffee is a reasonable therapy option. Read more here!

Coffee Helping Research for Parkinson’s Disease

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

For new medications for the treatment of Parkinson’s to Dementia, scientists are looking to coffee! Caffeine, the world’s most widely used drug, can do more than just wake people up. Various studies have linked caffeine to improvements in memory and protection against the destruction of brain cells. One study found that people who drank more than two cups of coffee per day had a 40% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.

Some drug companies have been designing drugs to replicate these benefits, but the challenge is to go beyond to achieve a more powerful effect without side effects like jitters or headaches.  At least five large studies have shown that consuming more caffeine can help reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. In one rat study, chronic consumption of caffeine prevented the loss of nerve cells.

Parkinson’s is a disease that progressively impairs body movement, coordination, and speech, and drug developers are focusing on the way caffeine targets an area called the basal ganglia, which plays a key role in movement.  The goal is to improve movement in Parkinson’s patients who are already taking medication to control tremors and stiffness. While the approach has been difficult to get right, it is promising!

Read more here.