NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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Do you start your day with a cup of coffee or two?

coffee, benefits of drinking coffee, origination of drinking coffee

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Community Wellness

If you are a coffee drinker, you are not alone. Nearly two out of three people have coffee daily, according to the 2017 National Coffee Drinking Trends survey of 3,000 people.

In fact, coffee consumption has been on an upward trend since 2001, reaching 10.2 pounds of coffee beans per person annually.

Coffee drinkers often have a favorite "roast," whether light, medium or dark roast. Roasting coffee beans enhances the flavor.

You might see "Arabica" or "Robusta" on coffee labels; these are types of coffee beans that have different flavor profiles and costs. Coffee beans often are grown in areas of Central and South America and Africa.

Light roasts are more acidic and have more antioxidants than dark roasts. Dark roast coffee often is described as "smoky" or even bitter or burned. Interestingly, light roast coffee typically is higher in caffeine than dark roast coffee.

How did this morning coffee tradition begin? According to legend and the National Coffee Association, a goat herder in Ethiopia noticed that when his animals ate berries from a tree, they became agitated. These peppy goats stayed restless all night.

Monks in a monastery began consuming the berries in a beverage and were able to stay awake during evening prayer. Long before the advent of Facebook, news about coffee began circling the globe.

Coffee not only energizes us with its caffeine content, but it also is part of social activities such as coffee clubs.

Even "decaf" has a little caffeine but far less than regular coffee. The amount of caffeine varies widely depending on the method of brewing and the type of coffee. An "average" cup of regular coffee has about 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine, compared with 5 to 10 milligrams in a cup of decaffeinated coffee.

A moderate amount of coffee is typically three or four cups (24 to 32 ounces) of coffee daily. Be sure you know how much coffee your favorite cup holds. A large mug of coffee may account for the entire "moderate" amount of coffee. Too much coffee can interrupt sleep, and cause migraine headaches, nervousness and rapid heartbeat, among other symptoms.

Coffee can lead to temporary increases in blood pressure among those with high blood pressure. Those with uncontrolled blood pressure should avoid large amounts of coffee.

Coffee is high in antioxidant compounds, which may help regulate blood sugar levels. Some research has shown that regular coffee consumption may help prevent Parkinson's disease, a nervous system disorder.

Too much coffee may be linked with bone loss and, potentially, fractures. We all need weight-bearing exercise, calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients to maintain the strength of our bones. People younger than age 50 need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day and those older than 50 need 1,200 milligrams per day.

Coffee may have some health benefits and some potential risks. Like most other foods and beverages, moderation is key.

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., NDSU food and nutrition specialist

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