In pursuit of health
By Hean Tan
Over 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). The doctor advised me to reduce the fat in my diet, but I never use oil when I cook, and I cut out all the fatty stuff when I eat. So how much more fat can I cut out? After doing my own research into NAFLD, I decided to cut carbohydrate from my diet, and to eat protein rich and Omega-3 rich foods for a few months. I also stopped having sugar and milk in my coffee.
I began to drink coffee without milk, and I discovered that a lot of coffee shops that I went to served coffee that was not palatable without milk. And so began my pursuit of better-tasting coffee. I have examined many specialty coffees in places I travelled to, such as Norway (Oslo), Hong Kong, Australia (Melbourne), Korea (Seoul), Denmark (Copenhagen), Iceland (Reckavic), Czech Republic (Prague), Italy (Salerno), Austria (Salzburg), Japan (Kyoto), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).
In recent years, specialty coffees have become popular globally. Coffee shops that serve specialty coffee are expected to have a precedented level of expertise and consistency in all coffees that they serve. And most importantly, specialty coffee should taste good.
The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) sets the international standards for quality control of Specialty Coffee. Quality starts from coffee farms, where only the cherries that are free from defects and at the best of their ripeness are harvested. They are then roasted to bring out the flavours and aroma that are distinctive to specialty coffee, which are brewed with precision by a knowing barista. The result is a great tasting cup of coffee, that should give its distinctive characteristics of aroma, sweetness, acidity, bitterness, balance, body, aftertaste, and many other desirable attributes that contributes to a great tasting cup of coffee.
Coffee should not only taste great, but it should also be healthy to drink. Many people only think of caffeine when they drink coffee, but coffee is not just caffeine! Coffee contains a myriad of compounds that are beneficial to our health. Antioxidants, for example, are present in coffee as chlorogenic acids and melanoidins. They help maintain general health by protecting healthy functioning cells in our body from damage by Free Radicals released by Oxidants (hence the name, anti-oxidants to counter free radicals from oxidants). (Ref 1)
In fact, there are many advantages to drinking coffee. The below are only some of the research evidence that has been done recently based on drinking coffee without milk or sugar (neat).
The benefits are:
- Coffee may have lower risk of developing a range of liver cancer (Ref 2)
- Coffee may have lower risk of mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases (Ref 3)
- Coffee may have lower risk of developing stroke in healthy individuals (Ref 4)
- Coffee may have lower risk of symptomatic gallstones (Ref 5), (Ref 6)
- Caffeine in Coffee has been known to associate with mental alertness (Ref 7), (Ref 8), (Ref 9)
- Coffee may have lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (Ref 10)
I am passionate about drinking coffee for health, as we should all take care of our health and the health of our loved ones who drink our coffee every day. We take great care to ensure that our coffee is as tasty and healthy to drink.
Ref 1 : Reuter S., Gupta S.C., Chaturvedi M.M., Aggarwal B.B. Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer: how are they linked? Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2010;49(11):1603–1616.
Ref 2 : Bravi F. et al. (2017) Coffee and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and chronic liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Eur J Cancer Prev, 26(5): 368-377.
Ref 3 : O’Keefe J.H. et al. (2018) Coffee for Cardioprotection and Longevity. Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 61(1):38-42.
Ref 4 : Larrson S.C. and Orsini N. (2011) Coffee consumption and risk of stroke: A dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Epidemiol, 174(9):993-100.
Ref 5 : Leitzmann M.F.et al. (1999), A prospective study of coffee consumption and risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men. JAMA, 281:2106-2112.
Ref 6 : Leitzmann M.F. et al. (2002), Coffee intake is associated with lower risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in women. Gastroenterol, 123:1823-1830.
Ref 7 : Brunyé T.T. et al. (2010) Caffeine modulates attention network function.Brain Cogn, 72:181-8.
Ref 8 : Brunyé T.T. et al. (2010) Acute caffeine consumption enhances the executive control of visual attention in habitual consumers.Brain Cogn, 74:186-92.
Ref 9 : Brunyé T.T. et al. (2012) Caffeine enhances real-world language processing: Evidence from a proofreading task.J Exp Psychol Appl,18:95-108.
Ref 10 : Zhang Y. et al. (2011) Coffee consumption and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in men and women with normal glucose tolerance: The Strong Heart Study. Nutr, Metab & Cardio Dis, 21(6):418-423.