NDSU Extension Service - Sargent County

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Let's Enjoy a Cup of Coffee


Cup of CoffeeOne of the mainstays in the farmhouse kitchen of my childhood home in southwestern Minnesota was a coffee pot full of “egg coffee” sitting on the stove.  Very few kitchen table conversations took place without a cup or mug of coffee in hand, and guests in our home were never not offered a bottomless cup of my dad’s favorite beverage.  In the summertime, coffee from our coffee pot was made portable by pouring into a plaid-patterned insulated beverage carrier.  Carrying it along with a sack lunch to take out to the corn or soybean field where Dad was working has now become a precious memory for me.  For myself and my siblings, I am pretty sure my dad considered “drinking coffee” a rite of passage into the world of grown-ups.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the U.S. According to the National Coffee Association, about 59 percent of people 18 and older enjoy the beverage at least now and then. Among people ages 25 and older, nearly three out of four drink coffee at least occasionally.

Plain coffee has a negligible amount of calories.  However, that quickly changes if and when we add sweeteners, cream, and various flavorings and toppings.  At that point, our fancy coffee beverage may become loaded with hundreds of calories.  The danger lurking there is that beverages do not seem to "fill us up" in the same way that foods do, so we drink too many calories.  To slim it down, we can choose skim milk or lower-calorie syrups as the add-in ingredients. 

Coffee is naturally high in antioxidants, and research is under way to determine the health effects of these compounds.

Many studies have shown positive physical and mental benefits. For example, caffeine in coffee may reduce our risk of Parkinson's disease. Athletes may note that a little caffeine improves sports performance. A 2015 study has shown that drinking coffee may reduce our risk of gallstone disease.

Coffee does have a mild diuretic effect, but it does not cause dehydration.  Too much caffeine can cause upset stomach, or leave us feeling jittery or nervous. Pregnant women should follow the advice of their health-care provider regarding caffeine consumption.

For best nutrition, and to support their growing bodies while staying hydrated, children and adolescents should quench their thirst with water, milk and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice. Some “energy drinks” contain a large amount of caffeine, along with other ingredients, and many "energy drink" beverages are directly marketed to kids.  Parents are wise to teach their children the importance and value of moderation regarding consumption of energy drinks and remind them that water is the best option as a thirst quencher for kids.

How much caffeine is OK for adults? According to the proposed 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as much as 400 milligrams per day is fine for healthy adults. That's the amount in three to five cups of coffee. A "cup" is 8 ounces, by the way. No doubt you’ve noticed that many of our "cups" hold much more than that!

SOURCE:  https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/news/columns/prairie-fare/prairie-fare-is-coffee-good-for-your-health

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