Thursday, November 11

Food Spotlight: Soda vs. Coffee (Part 2)

Coffee and purple leopard print jammies,
 now that's a good morning!
I love coffee.

No, scratch that. My passion for the dark, hot brew goes beyond love. I need coffee. As the molten liquid makes its journey down my throat, it warms my soul, lifts my spirits and raises my IQ by about 50 points. Without it, I doubt my ability to walk, talk, or even breathe. Asking me to forgo my morning ritual is akin to asking rapper Eminem to stop swearing. It’s just not going to happen.

While I might be a bit biased toward my favorite beverage, I do strive in this blog to be objective. So let me start with the bad news regarding coffee, because nothing is perfect, and coffee is no exception.

The most common complaint regarding coffee is the “jitters.” Too much caffeine can produce anxiety, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, and in some people, it can raise their blood pressure. Coffee is also acidic, which can cause stomachaches, heartburn and reflux.

Lesser known issues with coffee are the following:

  • Women who use hormone therapy and drink six cups or more a day have an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease.
  • High amounts of coffee may affect a woman's fertility and possibly contribute to miscarriage.
  • It interferes with iron and calcium absorption.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine and/or acidic foods, then coffee probably isn’t a good choice for you. (Although you could try dark roasted coffee. The darker the roast the less caffeine and acidity.)

For those of us blissfully unaffected by the acidity and thriving on the caffeine, on to the good news.
Unlike soda, coffee is a natural substance and has almost 2,000 different components, including micronutrients such as magnesium, potassium, niacin and vitamin E. And it’s loaded with antioxidants. Researchers aren’t sure why but they believe it’s the antioxidants in coffee that contribute to a reduced risk of diabetes for regular coffee drinkers.
Additionally, according to WebMD, “…people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's…at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones.”
And, the Mayo Clinic notes, “Results from at least four studies suggest that coffee drinkers have a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.”
Can I get a "woo hoo"?!

I love it when my vices turn out to be healthy choices.

As with most things, moderation is the key. WebMD suggests no more than two cups a day. The Mayo Clinic defines moderate consumption as two to four cups a day.

I’ll take my cup of java over soda any day. In addition to the health benefits I get to say,
“Grande nonfat latte please,” when I’m at Starbucks, which is so much cooler than, “I’ll have a diet soda.”

I’m just sayin’.

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