Is Coffee, the Secret Killer?

Regular coffee drinkers take their early morning fix, claiming it wakes them up and makes them more efficient. Others insist moderate coffee consumption is perfectly safe and even has health benefits. However, as much as we all want to believe these random myths about the black goo making you live longer, stronger and helping you grow wings so you can fly… well sorry to be the rain cloud on your cuppa, but the truth must be out. So here’s a list of the dark sinister side of the drink:-

1. Caffeine, the main active ingredient in your coffee, blocks adenosine (the chemical that makes you drowsy), and increases your concentration. However, long term drinking will increase drowsiness making you crave more to stay awake.

2. Coffee also has a laxative effect. This can make you dehydrated, causing headaches and tiredness.

3. Long term, heavy caffeine use leads to a rapid development of osteoporosis (low bone density).

4. Many people have controversial views on these pros and cons of coffee, especially when it comes to the heart. But let’s face it; if caffeine increases concentration, it increases your heartbeat. Am I right or am I, well right? This is because the caffeine blocking adenosine constricts the brain’s blood vessels. The heart beats rate increases, muscles tighten, the blood pressure booms, blood vessels near the surface constrict and more blood flows to the muscles.

5. Therefore, if you’re into an active lifestyle, the heart beats can increase up to a dangerously high level, while triggering extremities shivering and nausea. On the long term, this may ultimately lead to heart attacks.

6. Caffeine causes sleep disturbances. Don’t even think about drinking coffee or other caffeine containing beverages before sleep, unless you want to experience Inception (2010). And remember that the alkaloid needs 12 hours to be completely eliminated from your body.

7. Unfiltered coffee, has been linked to higher levels of cholesterol, this ultimately leads to heart problems. It has also been linked to weight gain.

 

So there you have it! Many researchers have found several links with caffeine in instant coffee being hazardous, but have also found several benefits. The side effects of drinking too much coffee can be quite lethal, but then again a little bit of variety in the right portions is beneficial and that goes for all food and drink.



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A Little Overview of Coffee Beans

The coffee plant has two main species. There is the Coffea Arabica, which is the more traditional coffee and considered to be superior in flavor, and the Coffea Canephora known more commonly as Robusta. Robusta tends to be higher in caffeine and can be grown in climates and environments were Arabica would not be profitable. Robusta is also typically more bitter and acidic in flavor. Because of this Robusta tends to be less expensive. High quality Robusta is also used to blend espresso for more bite, and to lower costs.

A little known fact is that some coffee beans improve their flavor with age. It is the green unroasted beans which are aged; the typical length of time is 3 years, though there are some houses which sell beans aged to 7 years. Aged beans have a fuller flavor and are less acidic.

Growing conditions, soil types and weather patterns during the growing season all contribute to the flavor of the bean, creating the differences in flavor from points of origin, such as Kenya or Brazil. However, roasting adds its own flavor, sometimes to the point that it is difficult to tell where the beans originated from, even by experienced cuppers.

The lighter the roast the more the natural flavor of the bean remains. This is why beans from regions such as Kenya or Java are normally roasted lightly, retaining their regional characteristics and dominate flavors. There is a method of roasting in Malaysia which adds butter during the roasting producing a variety called Ipoh White Coffee.

Beans roasted to darker browns begin to taste more like the method of roasting than the original flavors. Dark roasts such as French or Vienna Roasts tend to completely eclipse the original flavor. Roasting to whatever degree, while adding stronger flavor does not effect the amount of caffeine of the bean.

Fry pan roasting was popular in the 19th century, since the beans were normally shipped and purchased still in their green state. You simply poured the green coffee beans in a frying pan and roasted them in the kitchen. This process took a great deal of skill to do in a consistent manner. Fry pan roasting became much less popular when vacuum sealing pre-roasted coffee was perfected. However, in order to vacuum seal roasted beans, you had to wait for them to stop emitting CO2, as roasted beans do for several days after the roasting process. What this meant was that vacuum sealed coffee was always just a little stale as the flavors begin to turn bitter and deteriorate in just about a week after roasting.

Home roasting is once again becoming popular with the creation of computerized drum roasters which help simplify the process. There are some people who have found methods of effectively roasting beans using their hot air pop corn makers.

The region the bean is from as discussed before is a primary factor to the type of flavor you can expect from the brew, though it is very true that ‘new’ or unexpected tastes come from every region.

Arabia and Africa grow their coffee beans in high altitudes in the rich black soils of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The flavors of these beans are distinct and of legendary status.

The Americas coffees are grown in near rainforest conditions in areas such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Coffees of the Americas tend to be very well balanced and aromatic.

The Pacifics includes coffees from Sumatra, Java, New Guinea and Sulawesi, which are as various in flavor as the islands they come from.

Then there are the exotics such as certified Jamaica Blue Mountain and certified Hawaiian Kona. These are rare indeed and can go for as much as $60.00 per pound.



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Frequent Urination and Drinking Coffee – What's the Connection?

Do you find that after your morning cup of coffee you need to made a couple of trips to the bathroom; but then it seems you can go hours in the afternoon before having to make another pit stop?

Frequency of Urination

Caffeinated beverages have long gotten a bad rap when it comes to their perceived dehydrating effects. Past studies on this idea only looked at the two or three hours immediately following coffee consumption and yes, they did find that urine frequency increased during that time; as you can attest to yourself. What they failed to take into consideration is the remainder of the day. More accurate studies took a look an entire day of urine production and they have found that the urination pattern shifted to earlier in the day but the overall amount of urine produced remained the same.

Responsible for Dehydration or Simply a Diuretic

With the notion of caffeine being a diuretic, somehow the concept of coffee actually being a fluid source was lost. A cup of coffee, or any decaffeinated beverage, still remains a fluid source – especially in some populations where dehydration can be a problem; such as with the elderly where it is often relied upon.

While it is true that caffeine is a mild diuretic, it does not automatically make it a dehydrating agent. If that theory was true, would then not water be considered a dehydrating agent? There is no evidence supporting the fact that coffee and caffeine cause any imbalance of fluids or electrolytes.

All in Moderation

It probably goes without saying, but worth mentioning; drinking large amounts of coffee can indeed cause all sorts of health issues including potential dehydration. But assuming we are talking about one to three 8-oz cups, the overall dehydrating effect is similar to that of water.



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