For many of us, coffee is the reason we get out of bed in the morning. The sound of the pot percolating in the kitchen and the gentle aroma of the coffee grains helps us forgive our alarm clock for waking us up. Our day cannot officially begin until we have had our first cup of coffee.
Although there are many jokes surrounding coffee and its addictive aspects, are there health benefits as well? What is it about this drink that makes us come alive and face the day? Is it just the caffeine or are there other properties that make this drink unique to all others?
As it turns out, coffee has an extensive and colorful history. Here are ten fun facts about your morning cup of Joe you probably didn’t know about.
- Coffee drinkers are less likely to contract deadly diseases. Studies have shown that patients with higher levels of caffeine in their blood were less likely to contract Alzheimer’s disease. They also found that coffee had positive results on Type 2 diabetes patients and even protected women from skin cancer. Who knew?
- Coffee decreases muscle pain. It is often advised you eat a high protein breakfast after doing your morning cardio. However, adding a cup of coffee to your post-workout routine can decrease your muscle pain by 48 %.
- Dark roasts have less caffeine than light roasted coffee. The strong flavor of dark roasted coffee tends to make us think that it is stronger. That is not the case. Although dark roasts taste better, light roasts have more caffeine in them since the actual roasting process burns off more caffeine.
- Coffee comes from a fruit. Coffee beans are not actually beans. They are pits from a cherry-like berry that grows on a bush. The “bean” is the seed or pit, which can be found at the center of the fruit and is roasted to make the coffee we so enjoy. Next time someone tells you to eat more fruits, simply say you already had one for the day.
- Goats originally discovered coffee. In Ethiopia, circa 800 A.D. a shepherd first sampled the fruit that would lead to coffee when he noticed his goats looked as if they were dancing after eating from the same bush. After trying the berry for himself, the shepherd had a similar reaction (yes, he danced). Shortly thereafter, monks got a hold of the berries and noticed it kept them alert throughout the night. They eventually mixed the berries with animal fat and made small power bites out them.
- Coffee was not introduced in America until the mid 1600s. Coffee was first introduced in New Amsterdam (modern day New York) in the mid 1600s. However, it did not grow in popularity until after the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
- Decaf is not “caffeine free.” In one regular cup of coffee there are about 95 – 200 milligrams of caffeine. If you drink an 8-ounce cup of decaf, there are about 2 – 12 milligrams of caffeine in it. Although it is significantly less, caffeine is still present in a decaf beverage.
- Coffee reduces risk of suicide and depression. Specifically in regards to women, studies showed that those who drank more coffee showed less signs of depression and tendencies towards suicide. In one study, it was discovered that women who consumed about four cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to show suffer from depression.
- Adding cream to your coffee will prevent it from cooling faster. As it turns out, cream cools about 20% slower than black coffee and by adding it to your coffee you can keep it warm for a little bit longer than by simply drinking it black.
- Coffee increases your fiber intake. One cup of coffee contributes about 1.5 grams of fiber to your general nutrition. It isn’t much, but it’s something.