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Coffee: History and Health Benefits

In only 100 years, coffee had established itself as a commodity crop throughout the world.

Source : Agencies / 06 May 2014 

Coffee gives people a quick "wake up" call, and the ability to prepare for the day. A large number of folks reach for the dark, rich brew, and look forward to sipping that much needed morning beverage while preparing for the day. Coffee has brought joy to homes for years, and even centuries.

History of Coffee

According to The Coffee Research Industry, coffee originated in Ethiopia, taken to Yemen (6th century), and the first coffee houses opened in Cairo and Mecca. The little coffee bean became a hit in the Middle East. Most people would drink coffee, not to be energized, but for pure enjoyment (much like today).

Muslims often carried their coffee beans with them as they travelled. As coffee begin to spread across the Middle East into other Muslim lands, a Venice merchant decided to present the drink to Europe in 1615. However, it was not as favorable a thought, but the Dutch crossed over the unfavorable hurdle and became the first European country to own a "coffee estate ("colonial Java," part of Indonesia)," in 1696. Business was good, and more estates were sought and bought.

The Dutch had to be careful, now that Europe was aware of this fantastic coffee bean and its potential, because other countries wanted in on the powerful bean. "Coffee trees" started appearing throughout Europe, given to aristocrats, and in 1714, King Louis XIV received a tree for his garden. A few years later, a man named Mathieu de Clieu, cut some sprouts from the tree and took off to Martinique. In 50 years, 18 million trees had grown. From there, Latin America became interested in this endeavor, and by the 1800s, Brazil had made coffee a desired drink.

The Arabian Peninsula

The Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade.  By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.

 

Coffee was not only drunk in homes but also in the many public coffee houses -- called qahveh khaneh -- which began to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people frequented them for all kinds of social activity.

 

In only 100 years, coffee had established itself as a commodity crop throughout the world.  Missionaries and travellers, traders and colonists continued to carry coffee seeds to new lands and coffee trees were planted worldwide.  Plantations were established in magnificent tropical forests and on rugged mountain highlands. Some crops flourished, while others were short-lived.  New nation's were established on coffee economies.  Fortunes were made and lost.  And by the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world's most profitable export crops.

Health Benefits of Coffee

There is no doubt that coffee does help stimulate the senses, and prepare one to be more alert and active during the day. Moderate amounts of coffee, 4-5 "regular size cups a day," is considered beneficial to those who are healthy and active.

Even so, coffee does contain caffeine, and can be a dehydrate. It is important to drink water in the morning before, along side, or after that delicious cup of brew. Also, if pregnant, drinking more than 2 cups (12 ounces) a day could cause a miscarriage or other problems (Coffee and Your Health, webmd, September 28, 2010).

Coffee does have many benefits, which includes: reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, dementia, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and no weight gain worries (unless mixed with unhealthy food items, large amounts of sugars and creamers, or in the form of sweetened types of coffee). However, it is important to remember, coffee does increase heartburn, urination, increased heart rate and adrenaline, caffeine high then crash, and may cause sleeplessness and the shakes.

Perhaps coffee is beneficial when it comes to memory because it is a stimulate. With the rush of "endorphines," the body and mind become more alert and focused. Coffee may help certain cancers and with type 2 diabetes, because it does help clean out the body, and due to the strong antioxidants coffee produces. It is important to remember, all of these benefits are still (for the most part), a theory. Many do not completely understand why coffee reduces some health conditions, and the conclusions are based off of general knowledge of coffee and of test results.

Health Risks of Coffee

According to Donald Hensrud, M.D.'s online article, What does the research say about coffee and health? Is coffee good or bad for me?, the benefits do "outweigh the risks." However, there are still some risk involved, such as: drinking unfiltered coffee, consuming too much caffeine, and additional fat if the drinker puts additives into the coffee (cream, sugar, drinking sweet coffee drinks, or consuming unhealthy food products).

The reason unfiltered coffee is not good, is because it can cause high cholesterol. Also, 2 or more cups may increase the risk of heart disease if the body cannot metabolize coffee correctly. Adding food products, drinking coffee drinks (mocha, latte), and sweetening coffee with lots of creamer and sugar, can add unwanted pounds. Mix inactivity and an unhealthy lifestyle, and coffee may not have the health benefits one desires. Also, too much (as was mentioned), does cause "restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and sleeplessness." If the body is showing signs of anxiety, irritability, and so on, it may be beneficial to lower coffee consumption, or switch to a milder choice.

Coffee in the Morning

Despite the risks, which are few, coffee is the best morning beverage for numerous people worldwide. Coffee houses are around every corner, and lines often begin as soon as the place opens (whether it is at 5AM or later). Millions hit the on button on the coffee pot as they wake up in the morning, and look forward to that first sip as they start the day.

Coffee has lasted throughout the centuries, and will continue to be a popular drink. With the sales of coffee still going strong, and coffee houses still being built, it is evident that people around the world crave that strong drink that started as an unknown money maker so long ago.

 

 

 

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