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The caffeinated beverage, coffee, is a beloved drink known for its ability to boost our energy levels. Many people depend on a daily cup of joe when they wake up to start their day on the right foot.

We love that deep brown or black color because the richer the color, the more flavorful the brew. Grinding the beans and inhaling the earthy smell of the grounds as we brew are all part of our daily ritual. We are rewarded with the luscious taste of a good, strong cup to get us energized. 

Today the U.S. coffee shop market has grown to $45.4 billion as 75% of the caffeine consumed by Americans comes from coffee, with the average American drinking 3.1 coffees daily.

 However, if it weren’t for the Boston Tea Party in 1773, Americans may never have swapped tea for coffee. Tea was out, and coffee was in when the colonists revolted against the tea tax.

 In the mid-1800s, brothers John and Charles Arbuckle started selling coffee to cowboys in the West. James Folger successfully introduced coffee to gold miners in California and eventually became J.A. Folger & Co. in 1872. Other brands, including Maxwell House and Hills Brothers, soon entered the coffee market. PEET began offering a variety of coffee in 1966, and Seattle’s Starbucks changed everything in 1971. 

Thanks to Seattle, America’s coffee capital, coffee caters to people in the largest cities and the smallest towns. From the classic Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks, we can always satisfy our coffee craving.

In addition to its energizing effects, an extensive list of potential health benefits gives us more reasons to enjoy the brew.

1. Boosts energy levels

Caffeine in coffee is a stimulant that increases energy levels and decreases fatigue. Athletes use coffee to improve energy performance and increase energy levels. A study reports that caffeine before and during a round of golf improved performance, increased energy levels, and reduced fatigue.

Even after the researchers adjusted for age, belly fat, and physical activity levels, older adults benefit from drinking coffee because it improves physical performance and faster gait speed. 

2. Coffee may be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Regularly consuming coffee could be associated with a decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes because of coffee’s ability to preserve the function of the pancreas’ beta cells responsible for producing insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, coffee is rich in antioxidants and may affect insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and metabolism, which are involved in developing Type 2 diabetes.

3. Coffee could support brain health

Coffee protects against certain neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Moderate coffee consumption lowers the risk of dementia and cognitive decline by helping our brains produce dopamine and adrenaline, improving our memories. Studies show that regular coffee consumption can reduce the likelihood of developing dementia by as much as 65%.

4. Coffee could protect against liver conditions

Coffee supports liver health and protects against disease. A study concluded that coffee consumption decreased liver stiffness, which health care professionals use to assess fibrosis, the formation of scar tissue in the liver.

5. Coffee supports heart health

Drinking coffee may benefit heart health by lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.

6. Coffee could increase longevity

Coffee helps extend longevity thanks to its multitude of potential health benefits. For example, one review of over 40 studies concludes that drinking two to four cups of coffee was associated with a lower risk of death, regardless of age, weight status, and alcohol consumption.

The caffeinated beverage usually helps us turn from zombies to humans in the morning. In the afternoon, it supplies us with a pick-me-up, too. Good to know that this popular caffeinated beverage provides several health benefits, too. So, enjoy that cup of coffee!

But it is not just a day to celebrate one of the world’s most popular drinks, it is also a day to try a new recipe. Spices aren’t just a great way to add flavor to coffee, but they can also provide surprising health benefits.

  • Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar, helps improve LDL (bad cholesterol) and is a good source of vitamin K and iron. 
  • Nutmeg is a very good source of manganese. 
  • Cardamom is a good source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber, iron, and manganese. 
  • Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, improves mood, helps with glucose levels, and even diminishes the risk of heart diseases.

Nancy J. Schaaf is a retired English/literature educator and also a retired nurse.

PUMPKIN SPICED COFFEE

Ingredients for 2 servings

1 cup brewed coffee

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons maple syrup, or sweetener of choice

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or ¼ teaspoon cinnamon plus ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

whipped cream, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pot and heat through, making sure not to boil, stirring occasionally. Serve hot, or over ice. Top with whipped cream (optional).

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