Saturday, September 18, 2010

Greek Coffee Drinkers Have Healthier Hearts, Less Hypertension, and a LOT More Phenolic Compounds in Their Bodies

A study that included a group of men and women on an island in Greece highlighted several beneficial results that appear to be associated with the consumption of coffee---and these results, including reduced hypertension in coffee-drinnkers, are statistically significant. The study's researchers (published by the European Society of Cardiology in August 2010) were especially rigorous in their analysis, because for a long time there has been a widespread misperception that coffee consumption is linked to hypertension.

Let’s look at the study: The 435 subjects in this study, who ranged from 65 to 100 years old, were evaluated based on how much coffee they drink. Those who consumed 1 to 2 cups a day were healthier, compared with those who rarely drank coffee. There were several notable benefits. Coffee drinkers compared with non-coffee-drinkers had:

• A lower prevalence of diabetes (22% vs. 34%, P>.02)
• A lower body mass index (28% vs. 29 kg/m2, P=0.04)
• Higher creatinine clearance levels (which means better kidney function) 70.2 vs. 65 mL/minute, P=0.05)
• A lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease (19% vs 26%, P=0.04)

Interestingly, this study confirmed many of the things we know about coffee, including its association with a lower risk of diabetes.

The question “What is it about coffee that seems to make people healthier in incremental, but meaningful and cumulative ways?” keeps coming up.

Researchers point to many factors, but phenolic compounds figure prominently. The phenolic compounds in coffee are health-bestowing entities that are found in plants and function in a number of ways.

Phenolic acids are essential for plant growth and protecting plants from pathogens. These compounds protect against oxidative stress. The ability to potentially incorporate these compounds into processed foods has become a hot topic lately. Everyone wants a piece of the phenolic action! The best sources of phenolic compounds are berries (blueberries have 85 mg/100 grams) and coffee, which has 97 mg/100grams.

Perhaps it is the phenolic compounds in coffee that make coffee-drinkers feel like Greek gods and goddesses, giving them the strength to run marathons and the perseverance to more effectively stave off the effects of aging. So keep drinking coffee....

Agapó̱ ton kafé (translation: I love coffee)!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

STARBUCKS Shows Up at Fashion Week: Doing it Their Way---See Live Reporting from Lindsey Murphy

It’s September in New York City and spring is in the air---and on the runways. From September 9-16, 2010, world-class designers are unveiling their spring/summer designs in a new venue: Lincoln Center. With over 70 shows and 250,000 attendees, Fashion Week is a world-class event. This show attracts luminaries from around the globe, including actors, business people, writers, artists, and a pantheon of fabulous people from every walk of life.

This year, in the interest of keeping everyone pleasantly caffeinated, Starbucks has a major presence. The Starbucks Frappuccino® Shuttle is coursing through the byways of the city making frequent trips to Lincoln Center and various destinations in midtown. One of the major product categories highlighted during the shuttle expeditions are the bottled Frappuccino® drinks, including Frappuccino® LIGHT, Dark Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino®, and Bottled Vanilla Frappuccino®Coffee Drink ---made with lowfat milk. Watch reporter extraordinaire, Lindsey Murphy, reporting onsite from the shuttle, surrounded by frappuccinos, Starbucks associates, happily caffeinated people, and disco lights.

While frappuccinos have been become an iconic summer drink since their introduction in 1994, 16 years of brand evolution has resulted in an array of options so vast that it has become an algorithm in and of itself. This trend towards super-personalized choice was formalized in spring 2010, when the However-You-Want-It-Frappuccino® was introduced. Literally, the choices are so numerous that you could order a different Frappuccino® for months on end without exhausting your options. Whether you want whole milk, skim milk, or soy; chocolate, vanilla, green tea, or java chip; venti or tall; with whip or without; strawberry or caramel; or maybe a pumpkin spice soy chai frappuccinno---there are still more sizes, types of milk, flavors, and toppings to choose from.

The good news about the brand evolution is that the LIGHT variation on the frappuccino theme is available in a wide variety of flavors and sizes---and it is HEALTHY. All the better to stay svelte for the top trends of spring 2011: hip-hugging sheath dresses, sexy loungewear, and the return of energetic, spring-like colors—both muted and bright. Here’s to CHOICE, fashion, and coffee!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lights, Camera, Sound, Coffee---and Action!

From September 1st to November 14th, 2010, visitors can come to the Montclair State University amphitheater to enjoy an outdoor sonic/light installation by Christopher Janney---a well-known architect, who installs different types of interactive exhibits in public spaces. This exhibit, "Everywhere is the Best Seat," features 36 columns with light sensors that are thoroughly interactive. Visitors are enveloped in lights and sounds---including the melodious calls of rainforest birds and atmospheric electronica.

Better yet, while enjoying the exhibit, grab a cup of coffee at Cafe Diem, which is less than a 2-minute walk away from the amphitheater. The cafe, which is open until midnight on weekends and 24 hours a day during the week and on Sundays, brews Starbucks coffee drinks. One of their best drinks is the pumpkin latte. They are generous with the espresso!

For the past couple of nights, my family has been compelled to walk over to the university and enjoy the magic of this exhibit. I, of course, have been compelled to have coffee! Between the walking and the coffee and the brisk September air, there is a feeling of overall good health. In fact, coffee aids exercise. It delays muscle fatigue and keeps you focused and energetic. Life is based on a series of minute-by-minute decisions....Should I take that walk? Should I drink a cup of coffee? How about experiencing a wonderful outdoor cultural/art installation with other people in an open-air setting? My answer: Yes, yes, and yes!

Here I am surrounded by the wonderful super-sonic, hypervisual, awe-inspiring installation drinking a cup of French Roast.