Enjoy the surprising perks of coffee consumption

  • By Barbara Quinn The Monterey County Herald
  • Monday, August 4, 2014 12:31pm
  • Life

When I emailed a family member that I was at the annual convention of the Hawaii Coffee Association, he replied, “A dietitian and nutritionist at a coffee convention? Just curious.”

Me, too. But, hey, where else do you get coffee breaks that feature 100 percent Kona coffee? And speakers in Hawaiian shirts? I was ready and alert to learn.

Besides the fact that much of the world does not function in the morning without it, does coffee contain any redeeming nutritional value?

Why, yes, it does. A recent study at John Hopkins University found that 200 milligrams of caffeine (what we might get in 8 to 12 ounces of brewed coffee) enhanced the ability of study participants to remember details.

But coffee is more than just a vehicle for caffeine, say researchers at Harvard University. It contains hundreds of different compounds, including antioxidant substances known to protect cells in the body from destruction. Coffee also contains the minerals magnesium and chromium which the body uses with the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Recent studies have, in fact, found an association between higher coffee intake and a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.

Not everyone should be downing a carafe of coffee every morning however. Pregnant women are advised to limit coffee intake to no more than 1 or 2 cups a day since caffeine crosses the placenta to the baby. And people with high blood pressure need to monitor the effect of caffeine on their condition.

“If you’re drinking so much coffee that you get tremors, have sleeping problems or feel stressed and uncomfortable,” say experts at Harvard, “then obviously you’re drinking too much coffee.”

Store your precious coffee in airtight containers away from direct light and heat, advises Peggy, our enthusiastic tour guide at Greenwell Farms. “Never put coffee in the refrigerator!” (Moisture causes coffee to deteriorate.)

Only buy what you will use within a week or two. Coffee beans (and especially ground coffee) lose quality and flavor if stored too long. And by the way, “If it’s good coffee, you shouldn’t need cream or sugar.”

So from the big island of Hawaii: “To drink is human. To drink Kona coffee is divine.” Mahalo and aloha, dear friends.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Email her at bquinnchomp.org.

More in Life

Bob Jepperson’s Wild Love Story

A perfect circle of sounds, pictures and storytelling from the Anacortes author.

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globe nominations

“The Post” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” also collected a number of nominations.

Still looking for that one special recipe for the holidays?

Columnist Jan Roberts-Dominguez shares her traditional recipes for cheese soup and chocolate sauce.

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Three posh places to escape this winter in north Puget Sound

Whether it’s wine country, backcountry or the seashore, a relaxing retreat is close at hand.

Getting a glimpse of what’s coming as we age

Everett Public Library reading to help you understand the changes ahead in your elder years.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Most Read