Coffee is a caffeinated beverage prepared from finely ground coffee beans, usually from the seeds of certain Coffea species only. Generally, coffee beans harvested during the peak of the pollination process are used, though whole beans may also be used. When coffee beans turn red from green to bright orange in colour, they are usually picked, dried, processed and brewed.
One of the most common questions about coffee relates to its consumption; what is the bottom line? The bottom line for the consumption of coffee is good, but it is important to note that coffee has many benefits, some of which are not realized on the label “number one”. The benefits of coffee go further than simply adding caffeine, although coffee is certainly one of the most popular ingredients in many “energy drinks”.
There are several other factors to consider when determining what is in the coffee plant. It should be noted that the coffee plant does contain significant amounts of both caffeine and antioxidants. The coffee plant actually contains more antioxidants than cranberries, apples, oranges, and spinach. What types of antioxidants are present in coffee plants are two types that can have positive health benefits for humans: flavonoids and catechins. The flavonoids and catechins help prevent free radical damage by neutralizing free radicals in the body; antioxidants help prevent chronic diseases.
A second beneficial feature of coffee comes from the polyphenols found in coffee. The polyphenols are chemical compounds that occur in plants, including berries and wine. polyphenols are thought to boost the immune system and may help prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, excess body fat, liver cirrhosis, gallbladder problems, and even high cholesterol. The bottom line is that coffee may be beneficial to your health; the question is how much? If you drink two or three cups a day of coffee that may be all you need to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Studies have shown that coffee may help lower the risk of developing type II diabetes. In addition to the antioxidants found in coffee, the soluble coffee polyphenols are believed to lower the blood sugar level. In one study coffee was shown to help regulate blood sugar levels more effectively than a type II diabetes drug. Since type II diabetes is a condition that is not always managed effectively, this could be very important.
The third health benefit of coffee is the acid it contains. Coffee contains more than one hundred different types of acids. Some of these are acid and alkaline. Acidity is good (we need it), but too much can cause problems. Coffee contains lactic acid and some other types of acid; however, the amount found in coffee beans is far less than what we would need to consume in order to experience the benefits.
To understand coffee, we must go back to the beginning. The coffee plant grows up in the rainforests of the Andes Mountains. It takes a year to grow enough coffee beans to make a cup, so imagine how long it takes to mature a coffee plant! In order to help speed up this process, the beans are roasted in small batches on small racks in greenhouses. The roasting causes the beans to grow faster than they would if they were grown in the wild, so they are shipped in large quantities.
When the coffee plant reaches maturity it is harvested and shipped. When this happens it is placed on a roasting plant where it is heated to dry out the beans. The coffee that is made from this roasted coffee per day mixture is called green coffee. If you want stronger, darker tasting coffee then it would be best to use Arabica coffee, which is native to Jamaica and other parts of Latin America.