Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Reason I Heart Coffee So Much: It Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease!

Once in a while you see a movie in which someone is all hyped up on coffee. They are agitated and grimacing, and then suddenly they grasp their chest and proceed to have a heart attack on screen. If you see this type of movie, it should seem grainy and perhaps a little off-color and uncontemporary. Because anyone who is aware of the evidence surrounding coffee and cardiovascular disease is also aware that coffee is not associated with an increased risk of heart attack. In fact, coffee is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

So says a recent study published on June 18, 2010 in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association. In a study that included 37,514 subjects over a 13-year period, people who drank 6 or more cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of developing heart disease by 36%. Those who drank 2 to 4 cups per day had a 20% reduced risk. It's not clear exactly what the underlying mechanism is---but the numerous antioxidants found in coffee are clear contributors to this beneficial effect.

Researchers added that coffee drinkers also tend to exercise more and have a lower incidence of obesity. Plus (and this is IMO and the opinion of many others), coffee tastes good and makes you happy---especially the Italian Roast that I had at Starbucks today. It was bright and smooth and perfect with a dab of skim milk.

So drink another cup of coffee today if you's one more way you can love yourself and improve your long-term health,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Easy Breezy: Coffee of the Day, Seattle's Best Blend

On a warm, late spring morning, full schedules beckoned---and I, like many, many others woke up to a pot of coffee.

The coffee of the day was Seattle's Best Blend. According to the packaging, this blend is "uncommonly smooth." I enjoyed the first cup, but had to drink it quickly and head off to an event in my first grader's class.

Afterwards, my friend, Lindsey, Founder of SEO-ME, and I came back vowing to uncover the "uncommon smoothness" of Seattle's Best Blend. My second cup was rich and had perfect depth--but admittedly it needed a little kick.

Lindsey's take: "The flavor's definitely bright, but I would not say it's uncommonly smooth. It's definitely coffee, but I feel like there needs to be something happening, like nutmeg or cinnamon. The good part though is I don't feel like I have coffee breath.

That being said, the day was beautiful and the morning was full of laughter. We were light and breezy--despite the fact that we both had a full day of writing ahead of us. As Lindsey said, "Coffee is good to get you through the day, but it's really about the connection to others." Well said, Lindsey.

And next up to try from the Seattle's Best selection : Beach House Blend. If it's good, I'll drink it at the beach and the pool. It's going to be a great summer!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today’s Coffee Review: The Organic Coffee Company

Never mind that coffee is good for you----it needs to taste good. In fact, that first morning cup should be mind-blowing.

Not so with the Ground Rainforest Blend from The Organic Coffee Company. It’s dank and bitter without any subtle traces of chicory or nuts or chocolate or even mystery.

Fortunately, it is utilitarian. Drink it and get the familiar morning jolt. But beyond that it’s all packaging and a nice story.

The package is based on a rainforest meets mountains motif: blue sky, royal purple on one side with little symbols of fecundity, tall trees with deep underbrush, and cool breeze mountains in the backdrop. There is a bright orange sticker on the front that boasts, “Fairly traded (responsibly grown) Rainforest Blend (A perfectly rounded blend yielding a medium bodied, complex flavor)”.

Though I am not a fan of this coffee, which is grown on farms in Central America, their ethics and sense of responsibility are laudable. In 1996, the Rogers family started the Source Aid Development Program that has built schools, started meal programs, improved housing, and established medical clinicas in struggling coffee communities around the world.

Perhaps then I need to rethink my dislike. Maybe if I steam the milk just so---or perhaps if I drink this coffee in January instead of June---or maybe I’ll simply try a different flavor.

There are after all many flavors to choose from----Breakfast Blend, Chocolate Almond, Fair Trade French Roast, Hurricane Expresso, and Guatamala Maya Lake Whole Bean. I’m sure to find something I like…

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Coffee News Update: From Pop Culture to the Hallowed Halls of Clinical Research Labs

Recently, a headline made its way around the global media network in various exclamatory iterations. Composite results from 13 trials undertaken at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that coffee significantly improves performance especially among the nigh-shift crowd.

The headlines were unequivocally upbeat: “Why Caffeine is the Perfect Addiction for a Worker Bee Society;” “Coffee Improves Productivity and Safety at Work;” Coffee Improves Work Efficiency;” “Coffee is Best Perk for Sleepy Workers;” and many, many more. News about coffee is big news---if only because coffee is a $60 billion-plus industry and the world's most widely consumed psyhoactive beverage worldwide.

The scientific community continues to study coffee seriously. One major recent development is the devotion of an entire supplement of The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. This supplement, "Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases," is devoted to exploring how coffee affects the cognitive decline associated with aging and with Alzheimer's disease. There are 22 articles devoted to this topic and related topic, but the quick takeaway is that “moderate amounts of caffeine are inversely associated with the cognitive decline associated with both aging and Alzheimer's disease.”

This issue of JAD is a byproduct of a meeting—entitled “Caffeine and the Brain” held in Lisbon a year ago in June 2009. The meeting, which was sponsored by the Associaci˜ao Industrial e Comercial do Cafe in Portugal, was widely heralded as a breakthrough research moment for coffee in which coffee was identified as a disease-modifying agent for Alzheimer's disease and possibly for an entire group of neurodegenerative diseases that involve an element of cognitive decline.

Coffee is the perfect antidote for the aging brain!