Did You Know?… Hot coffee may keep away a Superbug? Research shows that drinking a steaming hot cup of joe may lessen developing MRSA bacteria in your nose. That’s right; your nose knows that there may be antimicrobial properties in coffee that may be linked to lowering the risk of carrying MRSA bacteria in your nasal passages.
It’s the ever-popular beverage we can’t live without—yet few consume it without some guilt. But the wonderful truth is that coffee has abundant health benefits. Coffee boasts more antioxidants than cocoa and tea, and even more than renowned antioxidant-rich fruits like oranges and blueberries. In fact, there are hundreds of healing compounds in coffee.
Recent studies have shown that coffee consumption can significantly decrease or reduce the risk of many conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dental caries, diabetes, gallstone disease, and liver disease. Here are eight common health ailments and DIY at-home coffee cures. Savor the different roasts, blends, flavored coffees and drinks that can be your best friend. But caution, consult your health care practitioner before putting to work any coffee cure.
1. DEPRESSION (Lose the gloom and doom): You may be one of the 10 percent of Americans experiencing a melancholy misery. No one is immune. The 21st century comes with a mixed bag of stressors, including from love problems or lack of love to money matters or no job.
What Coffee Rx to Use: Try a 12-ounce cup of medium roast (City) and dark roast (Italian or French) two times each day. Better yet, make that organic java. Add milk and dark chocolate.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up! There is light at the end of the dark tunnel for gloom and doom times. Drinking a couple of cup of coffee can boost mood. Also, adding milk, a mineral that can calm nerves and muscles, plus dark chocolate, which contains tryptophan, can help lessen anxiety and stress (which often are linked to depression).
2. FATIGUE (Get a pick-me-up) If you’re dragging your feet complaints may be more than less. After all, we need energy to work and play and enjoy life. If fatigue is due to lack of shut-eye or burning the candle at both ends, or trying to adapt to seasonal changes, coffee may come to your rescue.
The Coffee Rx to Use: Order a 16-ounce café mocha (with dark chocolate flavoring and dark chocolate shavings) at a coffee shop or make your own at home. (See recipe Seize the Day Café au Lait.)
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: It’s a fact: Caffeine boosts your mental and physical energy. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, like caffeine has as stimulating effect on the central nervous system. Anadamide aka the “bliss chemical” occurs naturally in the brain and when released to our brain receptors can boost good feelings. Millions of people every day get a jump-start in the morning by drinking a cup of coffee (or two) to enjoy that jolt so they can get a move on.
3. FLU (Shake the aches and pains) Getting and staying bright-eyed and energized is good, and life without aches and pains due to a quick onset of the dreaded flu is great. During the fall and winter the flu can hit you suddenly and it’s not fun to be out of commission, especially when life is calling for you to participate. But if the flu visits you there may be a way to say goodbye faster.
The Coffee Rx to Use: Try one 12-ounce cup of medium roast (for its antioxidants) and hold flavorings, cream, and sugar. Add lemon or orange slices and honey. Repeat in moderation as needed. Also, drink plenty of water, herbal tea, and fresh juices.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: Coffee is a super pick-me-up which will give you the energy that’ll help you to feel better. It contains the component quinic acid—and this is what gives coffee that sour acidic taste. It’s a natural compound found in apples, peaches, and pears. It’s also one of the primary ingredients in the Tamiflu formula—the stuff that people take when the flu hits home. Tamiflu is a pricey prescription medicine that is known for shortening flu symptoms. And remember, coffee also contains anti-inflammatory properties—key to fighting pain, which could be a godsend if you’re fighting the flu. A bonus: Citrus is immune-boosting and honey is antibacterial to help prevent a respiratory infection.
4. HANGOVER (Say goodbye to the “ugh”) Avoiding getting the flu is probably easier than falling victim to a killer hangover. Paying the price of a headache after overindulgence of booze can and does happen from celebrating or escaping woes. Then, your body has to deal with feeling terrible.
What Coffee Rx to Use: Try one 12-ounce cup of medium roast coffee with one tablespoon of honey and an aspirin.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: Coffee contains caffeine so if you team it with an aspirin it can work faster to help cure a headache. A cup of coffee paired with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller may do the trick, blocking the headache compound culprit—acetate. Also, honey is rich in fructose and enzymes—which can boost metabolism of alcohol so you can shake that headache.
5. HEADACHE (Stop the pain cold): Hangovers are self-induced by overindulgence in alcohol, whereas, headaches are triggered by a mixed bag of reasons. Ironically, caffeine—found in coffee—is a one common trigger to headaches—but it can also help to make the pain go away.
What Coffee Rx to Use: A cappuccino or café mocha, can be helpful, too, due to its magnesium, which can help alleviate headaches. Also, keep your coffee intake steady and timely.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: The link between coffee and headaches is a tricky one. New York Headache Center’s Dr. Alexander Mauskop, M.D., says that when drank infrequently in small amounts, regular coffee (not decaf) can be helpful in treating tension headaches. “This is because caffeine has some pain-killing properties, gets to the brain quickly and helps in the absorption of other medications,” he explains. But note, if you’re predisposed to having headaches, the limit is one cup a day, adds Dr. Mauskop.
6. JET LAG (Perk up to a smooth post flight): Jet lag happens when we disrupt our normal “circadian” rhythms that help us wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night. Drinking coffee helps counter the effects caused by jet lag and helps us to function normally by improving our ability to communicate and to boost our short-term memory. So, when we have to take a jet plane can java juice help us get through the imbalance of your body and mind?
Coffee Rx to Use: Drink small amounts (2-ounce or 4-ounce) of medium roast brew on a regular basis during the day both at your new destination and also when you return home.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: Caffeine, a primary ingredient in coffee, can help you to fight the jet lag blues, thanks to the hypothalamus gland, the main control center of the body clock in the brain, by shifting into a patter that fits in with the time zone of our destination.
7. WATER RETENTION (Blast the bloat): Bloating can hit when you’re upset, are PMS-ing and retaining water, during the “pause” thanks to shifting hormones, and even when you’re eating the wrong foods. Not only is bloat frustrating when your stomach is too puffy to wear your skinny jeans or favorite dress, but it’s also often uncomfortable.
What Coffee Rx to Use: Try an 8-ounce cup or two of black medium roast with a slice or two of lemon. Drink a glass of water for a double effect. Also, pair a cup of coffee with a piece of fresh water-dense fruit.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up! Drinking bloat-busting lemony coffee, a natural diuretic because of its caffeine, citrus, and water content, will help alleviate pesky water retention that causes bloating. Plus, the potassium in fruit can help counteract unwanted sodium and bloat, too.
8. UNIVERSAL EMERGENCY AID (Savor the buzz): Wanting to rid of water weight before a holiday event may seem like an ER time, but a real emergency can rock your boat. Blackouts, earthquakes, and severe storms can make it seem like your world has ended as you once knew it. Before or after, a cup of coffee may seem like godsend to help you feel normal and hang in there.
What Coffee Rx to Use: Opt for a 12-ounce cup of instant coffee (flavored is a good choice).
Why You’ll Be Perked Up! Coffee is comforting and energizing. These perks will help you keep awake and able to keep on top of the latest news, and help you stay calm but prepared. Plus, if you don’t have electricity, instant coffee (water heated on a gas stove) will provide you with that much wanted java jolt.
(Reprint permission excerpts from The Healing Powers of Coffee: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Surprising Superfood, by Cal Orey, published by Kensington, July 31, 2012.)
– Cal Orey, M.A., is an accomplished author and journalist specializing in topics such as health, science, pets, and relationships. Her hugely successful Healing Powers book series include The Healing Powers of Honey, The Healing Powers of Chocolate, The Healing Powers of Vinegar, and The Healing Powers of Olive Oil (all published by Kensington). She lives in Northern California. Her website is www.calorey.com.