If you said that basically everybody drinks coffee in some form, you wouldn’t be too far off. Coffee is the second most-traded commodity in the entire world behind crude oil, and it can be found sold or brewed in the remotest regions imaginable. Coffee is also quite a versatile substance. It can be brewed, pressed, steeped, or in some cases, just mixed into hot water. There are lattes, cappuccinos, frappuccinos, mochas, and more served with cream or just plain black coffee. There’s ground coffee, full coffee bean, organic coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and the list goes on and on and on. There’s no shortage of paths from your favorite coffee beans to your taste buds.
Why is Coffee Good for You?
So, with the tens and millions of bags of coffee consumed worldwide every year, and the three or so cups a day that the average American drinks, the question arises: can there be too much of a good thing? While, like most things, there is always the potential for excess, coffee brings with its rich aroma and taste a great number of surprising health benefits, from prevention of brain maladies to organic coffee for weight loss and way beyond.
Caffeine Benefits and Risks
For those who may not be aware, an active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant that has the potential to affect human biological processes. When consuming caffeine in your favorite coffee beans, the potential for serious harm is minimal, and although there are several health benefits that are attributed to the consumption of caffeine, there are some caveats to pay attention to as well.
First, the benefits. Organic coffee contains a range of antioxidants, which are microscopic substances that remove free radicals in our cells picked up by diet and environmental surroundings. These radicals promote aging by damaging cells, but antioxidants “hunt” these radicals and neutralize them.
The caffeine in the coffee also has its own share of benefits that ride along with it. Studies show that caffeine has the potential to limit the impact of Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine is also instrumental in preventing type 2 diabetes, while also lowering the potential for depression, liver damage, and heart disease.
It’s also important to remember that there are risks attached to the best coffee beans as well. Like any stimulant, caffeine is technically a drug, and while consuming too much doesn’t usually indicate any dire consequence, there are still some setbacks associated with excess coffee consumption that can, and should, be avoided.
It is generally recommended to keep caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams or less a day. Drinking too much coffee can cause sleep disruptions, leading to a number of downstream health effects such as headaches and impairment. Excess coffee consumption can also lead to anxiety and increased heart rate, and because coffee is an alkaloid, it can affect your body’s pH levels.
How to Use Coffee in Recipes
When you think about coffee, the first thought that pops into your mind is a piping, steaming hot cup of joe, right? Well, while ground coffee can be made into espresso or brewed in any number of ways, it does not necessarily have to be made into a drink. Ground coffee has found its way into a long list of creative and delicious recipes.
Ground coffee, for instance, complements desserts quite nicely. It is such a common practice to have a cup of coffee with our desserts that it should be obvious, but you can also infuse coffee with your desserts as well. Coffee easily dissolves in boiling water, and will add a rich, smooth undertone to brownies, glazes, and everyone’s old favorite – coffee cake. Finely-ground powdered coffee also adds that nice touch of flavor on top of ice cream.
But coffee’s potential for infusion into cooking is far from limited to desserts. Coffee can be an ingredient in meat rubs or spices. Ground coffee can be used to make a rich sauce for your eggs, or as an additive to your pancake syrup. A Southern twist on cooking with coffee is red-eye gravy, combining country ham drippings and coffee.
Our best coffee experiences abound in ways far beyond our daily morning routine. Coffee’s notoriety may be in its taste, and perhaps its potential to keep us alert, but it is so much more that we never think about. From its potential to prevent disease and aging to the health benefits of Bulletproof coffee, to creating taste sensations with creative drink and recipe ideas, coffee is an unparalleled, universal experience that definitely uplifts the entire planet.