US Solar - November 2018

I T ’ S A NO- BRA INER!

T HAT MORN I NG CUP OF JOE COF F E E AND I T S R E L AT I ON S H I P TO YOUR H EA LT H What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For most of us in the United States, it’s one crucial task: getting that morning cup of joe. Our obsession with coffee is nothing new. A paper entitled“The Consumption of Coffee in the United States,”published July 18, 1861, noted that“the people of the United States habitually consume more coffee than the inhabitants of any other country.”Its popularity has only increased with time; people in the U.S. consume an estimated 400 million cups of coffee a day. Of course, we weren’t the first to find out how great coffee is. Long before anyone in the Americas enjoyed the beverage, legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder discovered the amazing effects of coffee beans—on his goats. He noticed that after eating“berries”from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic they didn’t want to sleep. News spread around the Arabian Peninsula, and cafes began to pop up, known as“Schools of theWise”for the intellectual conversations that happened there. In addition to coffee’s long-standing popularity, science has found several reasons to give our morning habit the thumbs-up. In 2015, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines evaluated the effects of coffee and caffeine for the first time, concluding that coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle“along with other behaviors, such as refraining from smoking, consuming a nutritionally balanced diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, and being physically active.”The guidelines cite“strong and consistent evidence”that consuming coffee within the moderate range (3–5 cups per day, or up to 400 mg of caffeine per day) is not associated with an increased risk of major diseases. In fact, according to observational evidence, caffeine intake may be linked to reduced risk for certain diseases in healthy adults. Scientists think that antioxidants found in coffee, such as polyphenols, might contribute to its positive effects. There’s one major caveat, however. While coffee shows potential benefits when consumed inmoderate amounts, the sugar and other additives that many of us like to put in it get a thumbs-down. The Dietary Guidelines also note that health alone isn’t a reason to start drinking caffeine. Folks with blood pressure concerns should be especially careful and should consult their doctor about howmuch coffee is okay to drink, as studies have shown evidence of increased blood pressure with caffeine consumption.

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Everything inmoderation, as the saying goes, at least when it comes to caffeine.

MILLIGRAMS/FLUID OUNCE

TYPE

Brewed or drip coffee

12

Espresso

63

Instant coffee

8

Decaffieinated coffee

2-5

2 • 8 1 3 . 4 3 4 . 0 2 8 4

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