Most do not realize this, but coffee is a fruit that is grown in places around the world, such as South and Central America, Africa, India and Asia. Of the many coffee varieties, arabica and robusta are the only two coffees that are cultivated, with arabica accounting for about 75% of the commercially grown coffee.
The coffee beans are hidden inside a layer of brown, red or yellow skin and are surrounded by a sticky pulp that is removed either by fermenting the coffee beans, or by allowing the pulp to dry. Once the pulp is removed, the coffee beans are allowed to dry before they are roasted to different degrees, such as mild, medium and dark. Both processes are done shortly after the coffee berries have been picked from the trees. The harvesting is done either by hand, or to speed up the process, the bushes are stripped of the beans with a machine.
Coffee is commonly ground and ready for brewing upon purchasing. It is also available in whole beans, which can be ground at home in a coffee grinder just before using. This ensures optimum aroma and flavor. Instant coffee is also available, and dissolves when hot water is added. Coffee is available as plain coffee as well as in many different flavors, such as hazelnut, mocha, Irish cream, peppermint, blueberry and many others.
How Coffee is Consumed
The most popular way to consume coffee is in a richly brewed drink that is consumed first thing in the morning. It is a powerful stimulant that helps individuals to rise from their slumber in the morning. Sugar and other sweeteners are often added to help take some of the bitterness away, and cream is added to give it more texture and to lighten the drink.
Coffee is also popular in baked goods and desserts, such as cookies, coffee cakes, ice creams and others. It is often added to the dough prior to baking, or it can be sprinkled on top for decoration and extra flavor.
Although there are many who state that drinking coffee on a regular basis has many benefits, there are also some who suggest that doing so takes away from the goodness of coffee. They suggest that the best way to obtain the health benefits of coffee is to enjoy the drink on occasion only.
Stimulant. Coffee is one of the most powerful stimulants that is readily available on the market. It is the most popular drink in America for helping individuals wake up in the morning. It is also helpful for increasing the memory and energy levels, which in turn can help to increase both physical and mental production.
Antioxidant. Coffee is said to be rich with powerful antioxidants that help to eliminate toxins from the body. According to studies, many diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and fibromyalgia, are the result of excess toxins in the body.
Cancer Protection. Studies have shown that coffee can help to protect against various types of cancers, such as breast, ovarian, liver, colon, prostate and brain cancers. This is due to the number of antioxidants and cancer fighting agents that are found in coffee.
Obesity. Believe it or not but coffee is also able to help fight against weight gain and obesity. This could be due to several reasons, such as when drinking coffee one is not reaching for the other drinks that are high in sugar or other sweeteners. In addition, coffee helps to increase adiponectin in the blood, which can help to prevent unwanted weight gain.
Diabetes. Adiponectin has also been shown to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Furthermore, coffee contains chlorogenic acid, which helps to regulate the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream.
Protects Against Mental Diseases. Coffee has long been shown to help improve the mind and thereby it is able to reduce the onset of mental diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This is partially due to the stimulant effect of the coffee, but also due to the antioxidants that help to wash away the toxins from around the brain area.
Side Effects of Coffee
Despite the health benefits of coffee, one should also consider the side effects, as coffee is not suitable for everyone.
Addictive. One of the worst side effects of coffee is that it is highly addictive. Those who consume it on a regular basis are prone to experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms if the intake of coffee is suddenly stopped.
Insomnia. Coffee is a powerful stimulant that can keep individuals up into the wee hours at night if it is taken later in the day. Therefore, coffee should only be taken in the early hours of the day, unless of course the intent is to stay up late.
Fatigue. Coffee can provide the body with a surge of energy that lasts for only a few hours and then leaves the individual feeling worse than before. In addition, coffee also hinders the quality of sleep, which ultimately contributes to fatigue and mental unclarity.
Rapid Heart Palpitations. Excess amounts of coffee can cause the heart rate to increase. For some, this can happen after only one cup of coffee, but others are able to tolerate more. Anything over three to four cups, however, is normally considered to be too much.
High Cholesterol. Coffee contains substances that have been shown to increase the LDL cholesterol in the body. This is the bad cholesterol that can contribute to heart disease and other health conditions.