Coffee has some health benefits

In my lifetime, I have consumed more than my share of coffee.
I come from a long line of coffee drinkers. My dad especially loved a good strong cup of brewed coffee. And my mother, in her later years, referred to weak coffee as “slop.”
When I was an infant, my mother one time took me to Aunt Rachel’s house. When she came back to pick me up, Great Aunt Annie said, “She cried a little but we gave her coffee soup [milk laced with coffee] and she was quiet after that.”
I was quite young when I was allowed to have half-a-cup of coffee with lots of milk. And that practice continued until age 18.
But when I began teaching in a country school and lived at home at 18, I insisted that my mother pour me a full cup. I never drank more than half-a-cup but I thought I should be treated like an adult.
By my middle years, I was quite a coffee-drinker, always having a cup close at hand–in the kitchen while I cooked, in the living room as I dusted, and by my typewriter as I worked–consuming up to 10 cups a day.
Too much for my health, I thought. So more recently, I always have a cup near at hand but I only sip–drinking about a cup-and-a-half daily.
When a recent survey came out about which professions drink the most coffee, I was very interested. Not surprisingly, of the 10,000 professions studied, journalists were number-one, followed by police officers, teachers, plumbers, and nurses.
My question was, “Could I possibly qualify as a journalist?”
The only time I have been a bona fide journalist was in college as an editor and writer at the Goshen College Record. However, except for a few short years of teaching when I was very young, every job I’ve ever had was writing.
Writing for church publications, writing for college public relations, and, most recently, a 25-year career in mental health.
But could I qualify as a journalist? To answer the question, I consulted the dictionary. Journalist: a person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news to broadcast.
No luck. However, reading on I found that columnists qualify!
Now, back to the health effects of coffee. Obviously, 10 cups is too much for anyone. Still, in moderation, coffee can be a healthy beverage.
Donald Hensrud, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic, says, “Coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills—from stunting your growth to claims that it causes heart disease and cancer.
“But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all.”
Hensrud believes the good outweighs the bad. And recent studies have found a positive association between coffee consumption and “decreased overall mortality.”
An amazing fact! But why the turnaround? Hensrud says earlier studies often didn’t factor in high-risk behaviours like smoking and laziness that often accompany heavy coffee drinking.
Researchers now believe coffee may help protect against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease. It also improves cognitive function and decreases depression.
And coffee is loaded with healthy antioxidants. So, whatever your profession, if you love coffee, drink up.
But always remember that although coffee is healthy, old-fashioned water is the healthiest drink of all!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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