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Thursday, September 29, 2011

National Coffee Day

That's right, today is National Coffee Day.  On the news this morning they listed the top 5 professions that "need a cup to get through the work day".

  1. Scientists
  2. Marketing Professionals
  3. Education Administrators
  4. Editor/Writer
  5. Healthcare Administrators
They forgot to mention personal trainers who are at the gym at 6am!

I heard somewhere that two out of every three Americans consume at least one cup of coffee every day.  I usually consume around 3-6 cups a day.  The question is... Is it too much?  Is drinking so much coffee good for us?

We know coffee plants are covered with pesticides and probably herbicides, fungicides and any other "icides" that will help the plant produce more coffee beans.  This is why my wife and I started roasting our own organic coffee.  Recently I came across this article on coffeereview.com discussing the impact of pesticide use.  They make the point that coffee goes through a lot of "processing" before it reaches your cup.
"Coffee is not eaten raw like lettuce or apples. The bean is the seed of a fruit. The flesh of this fruit is discarded. Along the way the seed is soaked, fermented, and subject to a thorough drying process. Later it is roasted at temperatures exceeding 400°F, and finally broken apart and soaked in near boiling water. This savage history concludes when we consume only the water in which the previously soaked, fermented, dried, roasted, and infused seed was immersed. Given this history of relentless attrition, it hardly seems possible that much if any of the small amounts of pesticide/fungicide residue permitted by law in green coffee ever make it into the cup."

I am sure there are small amounts of chemicals that make it into your cup, but is it enough to be concerned about?  I'm not sure.  It is up to you to make that decision for yourself.  The coffee we roast at home does taste much better to me, so we will continue roasting our own coffee.  We will also buy organic as much as possible due to environmental factors.

The environmental affect of spraying is definitely a concern.  Spraying chemicals over any crop affects our environment in a negative way.  It kills local wildlife and other vegetation which ruins ecosystems.  If you are concerned about our environment it is important to buy organic as much as possible.

There has been much debate over the years whether coffee is beneficial to your health or harmful.  Coffee contains many antioxidants, but it is unknown whether those antioxidants increase antioxidants in your bloodstream.  Coffee is known to raise blood pressure and adrenaline.  This can be beneficial to a persons overall health, but harmful if you have a preexisting cardiac condition.  Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop Alzheimer's.  There is also a debate whether coffee causes headaches or relieves headaches. -WebMD

Look closely at most of the research done on coffee, or any food for that matter.  Many of the studies are done with surveys, which can be unreliable.  Most surveys rely on a persons recollection of what they consume on a "normal" day.  Try recalling exactly what you consumed for the past week.  You will either forget a lot of what you consumed, or you are going to recall consuming more modest quantities than actually consumed.  The beginning of this post is a perfect example.  When I said "I usually consume around 3-6 cups a day"; it's more like 5-10 cups a day on certain days!

There are also issues when a study is done that has a coffee drinking group and a control group.  No matter how closely you monitor the two groups, it is impossible to control every person's daily life.  The subjects are going to eat different foods, have different activity levels and have different environmental factors.  All these things will contribute to the outcome of the study.  This is why there is so much debate over the health benefits of coffee, an other foods.  It is almost impossible to have a definitive answer.

So what do we know after all of this?  Not much!  Other than American's drink a lot of coffee!  So go ahead and enjoy your coffee.  Have a happy National Coffee Day!

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