Recently, all the news about coffee has been great. Not just great – fanstastic! It has so many health benefits, that many now consider it to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
Due to hits high antioxidant content, and the fact that most people drink more coffee than they eat fruits and vegetables, it is considered the richest source of antioxidants in the average North American diet. It also contains other beneficial nutrients, like Vitamins B2, B3, B5, manganese, magnesium and potassium.
It boosts brain function, including memory, mood, reaction time, and general cognitive ability. It boosts your metabolic rate and increases fat burning to help you lose weight. Due to the release of epinephrine in the bloodstream with the intake of caffeine, it also increases your energy level, which can help with your daily workout.
In other studies, coffee has been shown to have marvelous preventative effects against a score of chronic health conditions, like type II diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cirrhosis, liver and colorectal cancer, heart disease, stroke, and depression. Considering all the conditions coffee drinking seems to prevent, I suppose it’s not surprising that coffee has also been shown to extend your life and reduce your risk of death overall.
Amidst all that good news, it was inevitable that something negative would come along soon enough. But if you really like coffee, you can relax. It’s not that bad.
It seems that excessive caffeine intake among pregnant women can cause childhood obesity. The stimulating effect of caffeine crosses through the placenta easily and can alter how the infant’s brain develops. Previous studies have found that high caffeine intake increases the risk of miscarriage and can cause restricted fetal development. This new study shows that excess caffeine intake (more than 200 mg daily) also causes rapid infant growth during the first year of life, and can increase the risk for obesity both as a child, and later as an adult.
In light of this new information, researchers are suggesting that pregnant women reduce their daily intake of caffeine from all sources, including soft drinks or energy drinks, so that they are consuming less than 200 mg of caffeine. Ideally, they would avoid caffeine entirely.
There is other bad news for those who prefer their coffee black. I’m sorry to have to say it, but….chances are higher that you’re a psychopath. In a new study performed by Sagioglou and Greitemeyer at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, it was found that people who prefer black coffee often have psychopathic or sadistic tendencies, compared with people who prefer coffee with cream and sugar.
After asking study participants to report on their taste preferences, each was then subjected to several personality tests, checking for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, and everyday sadism. It was found that those who prefer bitter flavours also showed an increased tendency towards antisocial personality traits, and a negative correlation towards agreeableness. The more people liked bitter tasting foods, such as black coffee, the darker their personality was.
Previous studies have also shown that bitter-tasting foods or drinks cause people to have harsher moral judgements and express hostility towards others. It seems that physical disgust (induced after eating or drinking something bitter) also elicits feelings of moral disgust. So, be careful what you eat! The more bitter foods you eat, the more bitter you will be too.
I think it’s important to note here that not everyone who likes bitter foods, or drinks black coffee, will be judgemental or sadistic. But it’s interesting to know that a correlation is there.
About the author: Rebecca Wong has an honours degree in English Literature from the University of Waterloo, and has been working in the herbal business since 2000. She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.