Category Archives: Health

13 Health Boosts of Chocolate

Chocolate – Behind coffee, chocolate is my next food vice. I found this list of the benefits of dark chocolate interesting and i wanted to share it.

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Drink Coffee, Prolong Your Life

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Coffee – While I just like the taste of coffee in the morning, I came across the article “Study Says 4 Coffees Daily Lowers Your Chance Of Death, So Starbucks Here We Come” that gave me added incentive to have my morning cup (or two or three or . . . ).

The European Society of Cardiology Congress recently published a report that relates increased coffee consumption to a lower risk of death. The study was conducted at Hospital de Navarra and included 20,000 participants over a 10 year period. The results:

Those who drank at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower rate of death than the participants who either never drank coffee or rarely did. Meanwhile, those who were 45 years old and up and drank two additional cups of coffee a day had a 30% lower rate of death.

So sit back and sip a few cups of coffee each morning and enjoy this world of ours a little longer.

Coffee Nap?

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Coffee – I am not much in the way of taking naps. I always seem to feel worse afterwards. I did come across “Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone” recently, though the article is from two years ago.

So what is a ‘coffee nap”? Drink a cup of coffee, then take a quick nap. 

You would think that the coffee would keep you from sleeping, but if to lay your head down immediately after drinking the coffee, you have a window before the coffee takes affect. Nap then for 20 minutes and you will wake up not only benefiting from the nap, but also from the caffeine that has finally hit your system.

Studies cited in the article indicate that a coffee nap is more beneficial than either coffee or a nap in reviving you.

 

How much Caffeine is in Your coffee?

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Coffee – Many stop on their way into work each morning and pick up a cup of coffee. How much caffeine are we getting when we do that? It varies. A lot.

BuzzFeed commissioned a study to see how much caffeine was in coffee from some of the most frequent stops (Starbucks, 7-Eleven, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts). Samples were taken from shops in New York City and in San Francisco.

First, their results showed that East Coast coffee is stronger, on average, than West Coast coffee. The other surprising outcome was that 7-Eleven coffee had the most (280 mg) caffeine. All the samples were medium cups of coffee and black (the way coffee should always be consumed in my opinion). For those of you who are Starbuck’s fans, their coffee came in second (267 mg) in caffeine strength.

Just to put that in perspective, a report in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has says that a healthy adult can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day.  The FDA says that the average American consumes about 300 mg of caffeine a day.

While it May Not be the Best, You CAN Hydrate with Coffee

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Coffee – The study “A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index” published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that coffee does not cause dehydration as previously thought.

A study of the effect of coffee published in 1928 had set the thinking that because coffee is a diuretic, it would not help in hydration. The new, more comprehensive study indicates that coffee will contribute to hydration. While coffee is certainly inferior to water for hydration, coffee will help regardless of the many trips to the restroom it may cause.

Another Benefit of Coffee – It Can Blunt Pain

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Coffee – I like coffee. That makes me keep an eye out for positive information about drinking it.

Back in May of 2017 researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Boston Children’s Hospital published a report that “shows that chronic sleep loss increases pain sensitivity. It suggests that chronic pain sufferers can get relief by getting more sleep, or, short of that, taking medications to promote wakefulness such as caffeine.

The report goes on to say:

. . . rather than just taking painkillers, patients with chronic pain might benefit from better sleep habits or sleep-promoting medications at night, coupled with daytime alertness-promoting agents to try to break the pain cycle. Some painkillers already include caffeine as an ingredient, although its mechanism of action isn’t yet known. Both caffeine and modafinil boost dopamine circuits in the brain, so that may provide a clue.

If you, or someone you know suffers from chronic pain, a nice cup of coffee may help.

‘Safe’ Level of Caffeine Confirmed

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Coffee – When I came across the article “Drinking Four Cups of Coffee Is Probably Safe” this morning I had to read it. I learned a few things from the article:

  1. We should all try to limit our daily consumption to about 400mg of caffeine (I have seen this suggestion before)
  2. The “World’s sTrongest Coffee” is something called Black Insomnia – they claim a minimum of 702 mg of Caffeine per 12 fl. oz. cup
  3. A close runner up to Black Insomnia is Death Wish – they also claim to be the “World’s Strongest Coffee”

That 400mg rule of course depends upon the individual and their state of health. If you want to get a good estimate of how much you are consuming per day you can check here, here and here. There are so many variables that it is difficult to get an exact number, but an average is 100-120 mg per 8oz. home brewed cup. I drink two 16 oz cups each morning, so that means I am right at or slightly over the recommended level. Perhaps a little less as I don’t like the taste of strongly brewed coffee and I adjust my brewing process accordingly.

A good rule of thumb would be if you find yourself suffering from any of these symptoms (from the Mayo Clinic), you should consider reducing your daily caffeine consumption:

  • Migraine headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Frequent urination or inability to control urination
  • Stomach upset
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors

Will I be buying either of the two “World’s Strongest Coffees” mentioned above – Not likely. Not only do they cost about twice as much as my regular Sprout’s Blend ($19.99 per pound for both Black Insomnia and Death Wish), as I mentioned above I don’t like the taste of strongly brewed coffee.

 

Bulletproof Coffee

I like coffee, so when I saw an article on Bulletproof Coffee it intrigued me. I haven’t tried adding butter to my coffee yet, but one of these mornings I’ll get adventurous and try it. Not sure about the “Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee Beans” and “Brain Octane Oil” though. Making Bulletproof Coffee with these ingredients is claimed to give improved IQ and cognitive function.

Dave Asprey (the ‘Bulletproof’ founder) also recommends using a French Press or Pour Over Method. He likes taking the time to slowly pour his hot water over the grounds in the Pour Over Method. I’m not sure I want to suffer that delay getting to my first cup of the morning.

I see that Picnik, both a Restaurant and Food Truck here in Austin, serves Bulletproof coffee. Perhaps I’ll try it there first before committing to the process myself.

Have you tried it? What do you think?

How Coffee Can Affect Productivity

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Coffee – I certainly can’t operate well with my coffee of a morning. I came across the article “5 Ways That Coffee Affects Productivity” this morning. The points raised in that article are:

  1. It improves mental performance and alertness – this is certainly true for me. There is more evidence included in my earlier post “Coffee Does Help You Get Started“. On the other hand “Wait Till 9:30 for Coffee?” argues that there are optimum times for drinking coffee. Personally I don’t want to wait that late in the morning.
  2. It can affect the quality of your sleep – I can agree with this, but the simple answer is to reduce/eliminate coffee after noon (or what ever time works for you to get a good night’s sleep).
  3. It may enhance your willpower – Hmm, I hadn’t thought of this before. I can certainly see how a cup can give you an energy boost.
  4. Drinking coffee at the wrong time will lead to increased blood pressure and adrenaline levels – I am fortunate that I don’t have high blood pressure, but I can see where this could adversely affect some.
  5. It can help you learn faster – though I can’t find any references handy, I have seen evidence of this.

I guess the bottom line is drink coffee, in a reasonable way. I know that for me brewing my coffee is the very first thing I do every morning.

Beer May Help Memory

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Beer – I saw in the article “HEALTHHEALTH NEWSCan Drinking Beer Actually Boost Your Memory?” today that there has been a study that shows that drinking beer can actually improve memory.

You may not remember things as well after you consume alcohol, but may improve recall of what you experience before consumption. I’m not sure there is anything really practical in this. I wouldn’t recommend downing a beer before going in to an exam at school.