Yesterday I wrote about the health benefits of drinking coffee but didn’t get into why coffee is such a great drink for you. I am no doctor. No surprise there. And if you don’t enjoy drinking coffee, none of my arguments are really going to convince you to start. So this is more just for fun than anything else. So what’s in coffee, anyway?
The two most widely produced coffee varieties in the world are Arabica beans and Robusta beans. Arabica accounts for about 80% and Robusta accounts for about 20%. This is really only important as we talk about flavor and caffeine content. Arabica beans are generally the more flavorful and most widely used in specialty coffee. They’re also more expensive to grow and in higher demand. Robusta is actually a different plant, is hardier, and cheaper to grow because it is more resistant to pests and disease. That’s is an extreme over-simplification, but it’ll do for the sake of our piece here.
Caffeine. Caffeine is everybody’s hero. Arabica beans have lower caffeine content than Robustas. So, if the coffee you’re drinking is advertising that their beans have the highest caffeine content of any beans anywhere, you guessed it, you’re paying more for marketing than you are for coffee. The cheaper beans have higher caffeine content. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s good news if coffee is merely a caffeine delivery system, but not so good for those being duped into thinking they’re buying something more exclusive.
So what does caffeine do? Well, it’s a central nervous system stimulant that can give you more mental alertness, increase your metabolic rate (how many calories you burn to basically exist), lower your risk of cardiovascular disease (as a blood thinner), lower the risk of diabetes (unless you put too many calorie-rich additives in it), and suppress your appetite (so you don’t want to eat as much). Pretty much everybody knows that coffee has caffeine, but these next elements in coffee beans can be beneficial to your health and are found in decaf coffee as well.
Chlorogenic Acids. What? Chlorogenic Acid is a phenol found in coffee and green tea. It’s an antioxidant that slows the release of glucose into the blood after a meal. It’s been studied pretty extensively, and you can check out an article on it here if you want to. Again, I’m no doctor, but the studies have shown they can also lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases, and liver cancer.
Trigonelline. Big fancy words, but here’s another study for you. It suggests that “trigonelline has beneficial effect for diabetes through decreasing blood glucose and lipid levels, increasing insulin sensitivity index and insulin content, up-regulating antioxidant enzyme activity and decreasing lipid peroxidation.
Soluble Fiber. This is something we can all understand here. Soluble fiber means it dissolves in water. Fiber is fermented in the colon into gasses and other byproducts. This has ruined many a date and kept lots of dudes from drinking coffee. But it’s good for you- so drink up because those gasses and byproducts can be prebiotic and viscous. Prebiotics are what causes positive microorganisms to grow and help you live better. Viscosity is the thickness and stickiness of your blood.
Protein. Yes, coffee has protein in it. Not nearly as much as your protein smoothie from Juice Stop, but some. You can check out this site for the exact amino acid breakdown and profile.
Minerals. Coffee doesn’t have much protein in it, and it also doesn’t have much mineral content in it. Most of that is in the form of Potassium, which your body needs to exist and can be used to control high blood pressure. There’s also a bit of phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and sulfur.
Vitamins. Unlike minerals, where you’ll need to get more from other sources, one cup of coffee has enough Niacin, or Vitamin B3, in it to satisfy your body’s daily need. Niacin has been shown to help “help lower your cholesterol levels, help prevent diabetes, and has been shown to improve joint mobility.”And this is from Bembu, a source that’s not really in love with the idea of drinking coffee every day.
Well, there’s my pitch. It’s not the best list of the good things that coffee has in it, but it’ll do. Next time someone asks you if you drink too much coffee, tell them: “No way. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants to fight free radicals in my body.” But don’t do it while sipping a 30 ounce coffee flavored milkshake at Starbucks.