My obsession with coffee came into debate a few weeks ago with a friend of mine. As we both inhaled the aroma of the espresso and the baked goods, he turned and said, “Café con leche is my one guilty pleasure.”
Guilty pleasure? Why feel guilty over something that’s so great? Coffee is mi amigo. I’ll drink it in any form: espresso, latte, macchiato, cortadito. You name it; I’ve probably had it. If you walk into my kitchen you will see, not one, but three coffee machines. I have a Saeco espresso machine, for when I need that extra jolt, so that I won’t be as grumpy with my co-workers who just sit there and don’t work (okay, that’s another blog post). I have my trusty 1978 Mr. Coffee, for when I want traditional drip coffee, preferably Yaucono. And lastly, an electric percolator. There’s something about hearing the coffee percolate that makes me giddy.
When my friend added that coffee is bad for you, I decided to do a little research. I wanted to know if my daily, three or four cups of coffee, was bad for me. More than 50% of Americans and not surprisingly, 90% of Latin Americans drink coffee, in any form – three to four times a day. It was said that by 2010, there would be 50,000 coffee shops in the U.S. alone. Starbucks is the owner of about 70% of those 50,000.
There are a few conflicting studies that say coffee actually is good for you. One study says that drinking coffee can actually reduce the risks of developing diabetes. That bit of news made me happy since diabetes is serious among Latinos in America.
Studies have found at least 10 different health benefits for coffee, including:
- Increases alertness, mental performance
- Helps relieve bronchial asthma symptoms
- Improves short-term memory
- Increases endurance, sports performance
- Reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Prevents the formation of gallstones
- Reduces risk of cirrhosis of the liver
- Reduces risk of colorectal & liver cancer
- Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes
Though this is all good news, you must remember that everything you consume should always be in moderation. For most, the caffeine in two to three cups of café isn’t harmful. However, drinking more can result in restlessness and anxiety.
So, I say, choose your café wisely. Don’t use up all your calories for the day in specialty drinks. Save it for the arroz con pernil asado y yucca frita con mojo and wash it down with some Yaucono. Did I make you hungry yet?
Coffee from New York Times
Caffeine and sports performance from US National Library of Medicine
by AJ Rodriguez