Sunday, July 18, 2010

Coffee Coffee Coffee

In my youth, drinking coffee was a right of passage, a clear sign from my parents that I was growing up. They drank coffee every morning; not just any coffee, but that strong blend of New Orleans coffee. During my early teen years I was allowed to have a cup each morning of our family vacations. One cup, on vacation days only. And thus began my lifelong love affair with coffee.

I am certain that with the exception of one six-week period in 1989 I have not gone a single day without caffeinated coffee for more than thirty years. That six weeks began with twelve days in the hospital, followed by my attempt to stay decaffeinated till the day they ran out of decaf at the office and I had one cup of regular. I was instantly hooked again and haven’t missed a day since.

Medical experts seem conflicted on possible health risks associated with coffee. On one hand, drinking coffee can increase heart rate and blood pressure and cause irregular heartbeat. On the other hand, an article published by Harvard Medical School says drinking coffee may have positive health benefits. It can lower the risk for type 2 diabetes, “discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease.”

Who am I to argue with the Harvard Medical School?

I’m on an email list for a coffee-related website that touts the benefits of coffee. I honestly do not know how I got on their list, but I read their weekly news releases with great interest and a little snickering. One recent article discussed various benefits of coffee drinking, including reduce risk for cancer and stroke. In that same email, the CEO of ‘coffee.org’ said, “Coffee actually contains a high level of antioxidants, which prevent cell damage and aging. In fact, a morning cup of coffee is the number one source of antioxidants for many adults.”

OK, they are a little biased. If you visit coffee.org you’ll see that a web sites ending with “.org” does not always represent a non-profit organization.

That site is quite humorous. Another of their newsletters explained some uses for coffee grounds, including removing odors from your hands and kitchen sink drains, cleaning stained surfaces and freshening breath. I don’t know about that last one; doesn’t drinking coffee have the opposite effect?

One government study says the safe daily dosage of caffeine is 300 milligrams, or approximately three 12 oz. cups. The picture with this post shows my breakfast this morning. I filled that cup twice. Maybe I could have some more. I’m just not human till I’ve had my coffee.

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