While I am writing this post, I am drinking a cup of coffee with milk chocolate. I love to call it as café latte, without the froth.
Many of my colleagues drink cups of coffee each day. We do not just drink it because it reduces our sleepiness/grogginess but coffee offers several health benefits that many people try to ignore.
In the past few decades, coffee has been studied thousands of times. Lately, more and more health benefits of this drink have been discovered. But drinking a cup of java must be balanced.
Unfortunately, there is no ideal dose of drinking coffee. Bear in mind that a cup of coffee can be different from one person to another. My “cup of coffee” is a coffee-mug size. Yours might be a small cup that people would normally use in drinking tea.
Let us not argue about what a cup of coffee must be. Instead, let me start highlighting the benefits of drinking coffee each day.
1. Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Not only that. It is also shown to reduce the risk of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
How is this even possible?
The antioxidant content of this drink is what makes this beverage perfect for those who wish to avoid suffering from those mental health conditions.
Coffee’s antioxidants are shown, not only to boost the neurotransmitter effects in cognitive function but they are also reported to prevent brain cells damage as you grow older.
As coffee intake increases, cases of glioma, which is a form of brain cancer, are dropped.
There are also studies going on that may prove that the compounds of coffee may have the power to activate the DNA-repairing protein in a cell. Because of that ability, it may prevent DNA damage.
2. Prevents diabetes
Studies showed that those who drink up to four cups of coffee each day have lowered their risk of having type 2 diabetes. Researchers believe that coffee’s chlorogenic acid and quinides are the ones that boost your cell’s insulin sensitivity. In other words, they help in regulating blood sugar.
But those studies did not verify whether the coffee used was caffeinated or de-caffeinated.
3. Lowers risk of stroke
Some studies about the benefits of a cup of coffee showed that those who drink up to three cups of coffee a day have lowered their rates of strokes. This can be caused by the antioxidant effects of coffee that stop inflammation from causing damage to the arteries.
The compounds in coffee might activate nitric oxide, which is a substance that is known to widen blood vessels.
However, just because it can prevent heart problems does not mean you have to take more cups of it each day. There are studies showing that drinking more than five cups of coffee a day is associated with higher risk of heart disease. This goes to say that excessive caffeine intake can cancel out the antioxidant effects of coffee.
4. Prevents liver problems
I have to emphasize that the research about this health benefit is limited. Despite that, the studies showed that people who drink more coffee have lowered their risk of developing liver diseases, like cirrhosis. This can be due to the coffee’s antioxidant content that prevents liver inflammation, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
This benefit is essential if you drink alcohol. In 2006, a study was published about coffee’s effects on people who regularly drink a cup of coffee a day. It was shown that these people were 20% less likely to suffer from liver cirrhosis, which is an autoimmune disease as a result of excessive consumption of alcohol. This liver problem could lead to liver failure and cancer.
Furthermore, studies showed that this beverage can prevent the development of NAFLD or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, the people who participated in the study were drinking at least four cups of coffee a day.
5. Avoids depression
In a study presented by the National Institute of Health, it was shown that those who drink at least four cups of coffee were 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who do not drink a cup of java.
The connection between depression and coffee is not caffeine. Instead, the trusty antioxidants found in coffee are the reasons of the link. Pepsi or Coke contains high amount of coffee. But this type of beverage is linked to depression.
Because it can act as a mild anti-depressant, those who drink up to four cups of coffee a day are less likely to commit suicide. The antioxidants and other contents of coffee aid in the production of various neurotransmitters that control depression.
6. Prevents gum disease
Again, the reason for this is the antioxidant content of coffee, and not caffeine. Researchers found that those who drink at least a cup of java a day reduced their risk of having gum disease. They also found a reduction in bone and teeth loss. Furthermore, they found that daily consumption of coffee does not cause adverse effects to the oral health. Instead, it provides protective effects against the development of periodontal disease.
Although further studies are needed to make a proper conclusion about this matter, we can start drinking at least a cup of coffee a day.
Iced coffee for summer
Summer season is here. I can drink hot coffee in the afternoon. But some of you might not like the idea of drinking hot beverage during hot season. Enter iced coffee.
Just because it is an iced coffee does not mean that it is just for the afternoon drink. You can have it in the morning as you wake up. To make the best iced coffee, you do not need the best ice cubes in your glass.
How to make iced coffee? The best one?
As mentioned earlier, it is not about how you add the ice cubes but it is about changing the brewing process. Instead, you make iced coffee fresh from the French press. It is chilled overnight. From the fridge, it will be extra-cold and ready to be diluted using ice and milk.
Processing a cold-brew French press can take a lot of time. But the extra time you put in will make the flavor more delicate and less bitter.
- Whole coffee beans
- Cold water
- Caramel, chocolate, flavored syrups and other sweeteners you would like to use. But they are optional.
Before you can start, you will need to have a coffee grinder and a French press. You can have the latter from Starbucks. It costs around PHP1,500.
Now, get your coffee grinder and grind your coffee beans. About 1/3 cup of beans is needed for the best cup of iced coffee. Make sure that the beans are coarse enough to be easily filtered by the French press. However, ensure that they are still fine enough to be infused easily.
Now, pour the ground coffee into the press. Then, add 1 ½ cups of water. Stir the coffee and the water until they are well-blended.
Place the press’ plunger in the up position. Put the French press in the fridge. Allow it to steep overnight. Make sure that the plunger is left in the up position. This will ensure that the ground beans infuse the water overnight.
In the morning, separate the coffee from the grounds by plunging the French press.
Then, get a glass and fill partway with ice cubes and milk. Pour the iced coffee to fill the rest of the glass. You may add caramel or chocolate fudge. I like adding dark chocolate in it. It still has the bitter taste of coffee with a touch of sugar from the milk. I also use soya milk. But you can use any type of milk that you have in your fridge.
How many calories are there in the iced coffee?
From the iced coffee that we discuss above, you will have 112 calories for two servings. It is still low in fat, as long as you do not add milk chocolate or vanilla. Sugar content can be 0.7 gram but it depends on the sweetener you add to it.
Now, what if you do not have coffee beans and a coffee grinder? What if you only have is an instant coffee?
It is still possible to make the best iced coffee through an instant coffee. Follow the steps below:
- Take three tablespoons of instant coffee. I would suggest using Folgers instant coffee crystals or Achiever’s instant coffee.
- Prepare the following: Cup of boiling water, sweetener, cups of cold water, milk, coffee creamer, whipped cream (optional but not advisable to those who wish to lose weight)
- Dissolve the instant coffee in boiling water. Make sure that you are using a tempered glass
- Add the sugar or sweetener
- Add cold water and stir
- Add milk and stir
- Place it in the fridge until it is chilled
- Transfer the cold coffee in a tall glass and pour over ice cubes
- Top it with whipped cream, if you wish. Then again, it is not advisable to those who are trying to lose weight.
Another way to make iced coffee is to blend the ice and make a cappuccino frost. Here are the steps:
- Prepare cold water, classic roast instant coffee crystals, chilled sweetened condensed milk, ice cubes, and whipped cream.
- Add water and coffee crystals in the blender. Make sure that all crystals are dissolved.
- Add the chilled sweetened condensed milk. Blend.
- Add ice cubes.
- Blend until the mixture appears smooth and frothy.
- Pour the mixture into a tall glass.
- Top it with whipped cream, i.e. if you want to. But be careful with this. Bear in mind that whipped cream contains high amount of calories.
If you want to make almond frost, you can just add almond extract. For vanilla frost, you can add vanilla extract, instead of almond extract. I have tried adding both and the result is still good. You can even add pumpkin spice creamer to make it more flavorful.
A recipe I have not tried yet is the orange with mocha smoothie. It will still be iced coffee but it will have scoops of orange sherbet and a slice of fresh orange. What you will need to gather are chilled chocolate milk, roasted concentrated coffee, milk, whipped cream, orange slice, and scoops of orange sherbet.
To make a mocha orange smoothie, you just need to chill a glass in the freezer. Get your blender and put in the chocolate milk and the instant coffee. Blend them well until the coffee crystals are dissolved. Add the sherbet. Blend until you achieve the desired consistency. Pour the mixture into the chilled glass. Top it with whipped cream. Garnish the beverage with orange slice. Drink it with straw.
No matter what brand of coffee you would like to drink, the benefits of coffee will remain. Some people would love to drink their cup of coffee hot while others love it cold. For me, I love both. But I try not to make iced coffee often as I am usually tempted to add more sweeteners and whipped cream. Coffee may have several health benefits but the added ingredients may cancel them out.
I still need to master how to brew the ideal way. I do not have a coffee grinder so I purchase ground coffee with the right consistency. According to my research, having a coffee grinder is essential in getting the ideal brewing. Coffee experts recommend brewing fresh ground coffee. But this is unattainable for people who do not have coffee grinders.