Saturday, September 24, 2005

Coffee is good for you

Ah coffee, some days I feel I am lurching from one coffee break to the next, rewarding myself with a handful of beans, grinding them by hand if I'm feeling energetic, or using one of those plastic all-in-one filters if I'm not. There are shelves of jugs, filter machines and cafetieres dedicated to the process at chez Dudman, and three types of milk frothers, a cocoa dispenser and special cups, spoons and mugs (the one you see here is my favourite, donated by a friend). And then there are all the things that go with coffee, special little almond biscuits wrapped in tissue paper, or small chunks of chocolate praline wrapped in foil - nothing too large because it mustn't distract from the main event...

According to an article in the New Scientist by Richard Lovett this is one guiltless pleasure - coffee, it turns out, is good for you. The feature ends with ' Too much caffeine will give you the jitters and keep you up at night. It might even give you disconcerting but largely harmless palpitations, and you'll suffer mild withdrawal symptoms if you stop. But all things considered, caffeine is your friend. Worry about something else.'

According to the article caffeine may be guard against colorectal cancer, Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and alcohol-related liver damage, it also reduces the risk of kidney stones and gallstones and is a mild antidepressant. Filtered coffee is better than unfiltered coffee because filtering removes a substance which causes increased cholesterol, and pregnant women should avoid ingesting huge quantities just in case - but the rest of us are free to indulge with gusto. Coffee, it turns out contains polyphenols, the antioxidants found in red wine (hurrah), chocolate (yes), and tea (also good) and is the number one source of antioxidants in the US diet.


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