Want to improve your health? Drink 5 cups of coffee a day
Coffee has been part of our drinking culture for centuries. In many civilizations it was the custom to drink coffee as part of a meal, when receiving guests and at family events. Amali Messika, Chief Dietitian at Strauss, shares insights gleaned from the latest research that prove that drinking a fair amount of coffee helps to protect our body against illness.
The connection between the growing region and the coffee’s characteristics
To understand the importance of the presence of coffee at mealtimes, we will have to take a short trip to the regions where coffee is grown. The coffee plant develops in tough climate conditions.
The plantations are located in subtropical regions where the average year-round temperature is 22 degrees centigrade. The coffee plant has adapted to the environmental conditions in order to survive; the bushes grow in the shadow of shade trees. Today there are species that yield berries that, when ripe, are yellow in color rather than red.
The coffee bean grows inside a hard, red pod. Together, they form the coffee cherry, and there is a reason for the name. The coffee cherry is bright red, a shade created by vegetable pigments that give it its color, but also help the coffee plant to protect itself from the sun.
The coffee bean inside the cherry also contains protective substances that help the plant to survive the conditions of the environment, but what does this have to do with us and our meal? It turns out that those same substances that help the coffee plant also serve our bodies as antioxidants.
About the research
A study published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the connection between coffee consumption and mortality as a result of various causes.
A comparison was made between the coffee drinking habits (according to the number of cups per day) of 90,317 subjects who were monitored from 1998 to 2009. An analysis of the findings showed that it was precisely among coffee consumers that the chances of dying from illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and others, decreased.
The study demonstrated that the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease and due to other causes is inversely associated with coffee consumption, with mortality odds decreasing as the number of cups consumed per day (up to 5) rose.
In recent years coffee consumption has been associated with the prevention or reduction of the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes
The figures speak for themselves: The risk of dying among those who drank less than one cup per day decreased by 1% (negligible) On consumption of one cup of coffee per day, mortality odds decreased by 6% On consumption of 2-3 cups per day, the mortality risk decreased by 18% On consumption of 4-5 cups per day, the mortality risk decreased by 21% On consumption of more than 6 cups per day, the odds decreased by 16%.
It is known today that not only is the consumption of foods that are rich in antioxidants important, but the timing of their consumption during the meal is important too.
Another study carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Volcani Center by Prof. Yossi Kaner demonstrated that Elite Turkish Coffee contains a large quantity of antioxidants, even after it has been brewed. Prof. Kaner also demonstrated that subjects who consumed coffee together with a meat meal enriched their meal with a greater quantity of antioxidants, which provided protection during the processes of digesting the food.
Coffee regardless of food
Coffee is important not only when consumed as part of a meal. It has been found that in the Western diet coffee serves as a major purveyor of antioxidants.
Many of us are aware that there are other foods that are rich in antioxidants such as pomegranates, berries and chocolate, but these are foods that are not consumed in large quantities on a daily basis, and consequently coffee easily takes pride of place when it comes to providing the daily dose of antioxidants.
In recent years coffee consumption has been associated with the prevention or reduction of the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and age-related illnesses like Alzheimer's and others. There is no doubt that along with the enjoyment that accompanies a good cup of coffee there are many other advantages to its consumption.
So how many cups of coffee do you drink a day?