Wellness in Every Cup

Among many of the Earth's bounty, the elusive yet highly revered and sought-after is the perfect coffee bean. Coffee, legend has it, traveled to different regions of the world carrying a variety of names and purposes to reach the heathenish pedestal as an elixir of flavor, joy and inspiration it is enjoying now. Together with the dew drops of this season, ZEN Health takes notice on these small wonders by highlighting the many reasons why coffee is an everyday alchemy's health marvel.

On a high
If there would be a Coffee-holics' anonymous to secretly gather the many fanatics of a cup of joe, I'm sure the circle woyld be as open as the possibilities coffee being an essential part of one'd diet. Thanks to coffee's rise to fame, a good brew is just about in every corner. this is unsurprising as coffee, according to studies, can elevate the mood, among other things.

Other than an investment on flavor, the coffee business thrives because it is among the few industries that founded itself on the natural human pursuit of happiness. Coffee can increase levels of pleasure as triggered by the brain, studies say. It comes as an expected surprise then why many of the world's biggest names in the creative industry refer or allude to coffee with their works.

In contemporary times, ZEN Health talked to Ripley's Believe it or Not-featured coffee painter Sunshine Plata regarding the inspiration and pleasire found in coffee. "Just like most people I used to take for granted coffee's presence in my cupboard but when I started learning the ins and outs of painting and how people value my works., I realized that this humble cup of joe has somehow transformed into a higher level of being, from a commonly consumed beverage to a 'curio' or what the art world calls a rare art piece that's made to last long," she said.

My friend Dan, a self-confessed coffee-holic living in Miami said, "I get migraine if I don't drink at least two shots of espresso. Coffee elevates my mood, its aroma and taste reminds me of cafes in Paris, bars in Rine abd cafecito (Cuban espresso) in Miami, leading to a feeling of satisfaction. If I don't get my shots, I either get migraine of feel that something is missing." Other than preserving talent of as a source of that quick rush, coffee is believed in some cultures to also be an aphrodisiac.

A wine-derful affair
Initially known in Europe as Arabian wine, coffee beans share with grapes the necessity of taking into account temperature, soil conditions, altitude, and degree of ripeness when picked. In a coffee seminar attended by ZEN Health, coffee specialists from non-profit organization Cafe Isla, narrated the exquisite art of breaking down a brew into details. Fortunately though, when extracted properly, the antioxidants you get from coffee would not be affected by how sweet or dark you prefer your cup to be.

The love for coffee is mainly a subjective enterprise. Some people like their coffee bold and heavy while some like it mild and even au lait, with milk. But generally, coffee when taken in moderation is a "lifestyle drink" that can be beneficial to one's overall health. The International Coffee Organization through the Positively Coffee campaign shared up-to-date information on the goodwill of a daily intake of coffee to limitations involved with pregnancies to coffee's cancer-elusive effects.

Cancer which is among the top medical complications in the world is estimated to be preventable with changes and improvements in diet and lifestyle. among these changes should be the adaptation of a good habit of coffee drinking.

Suggested as lowering the risk of some cancers, moderate to regulare coffee drinkers consistently win against those who drink less than a cup of brew daily. Other than cancer, coffee research also suggests that coffee drinking serves as a protective lifestyle approach against the development of type II diabetes and liver cirrhosis.

However, the caffeine content of coffee is argued to be harmful to one's overall health. With the addictive effects of caffeine, it is not a mystery why the aromatic brew receives criticisms despite the beneficial effects it is already proven to cause towards one's mental and physical health.

Based on a report found in the Positively Coffee website, researches have already demonstrated beneficial effects of caffeine from coffee and other sources on physical performance. Extending to a diverse variety of sports and physical activities, studies show coffee's benefits on well-trained athletes and excelling individuals from different recreational actitivities. In fact, recent studies reveal caffeine actually aids in improving muscular endurance as wekk as muscular work capacity in most, if not all, short-duration and high-intensity exercises.

Beautiful brews
The world's love for coffee has reached new heights with the recent innovations not just with coffee as a beverage but alsdo its inclusion as a top-rating beauty product. A recent find was from Z.E.N.'s baskets at the Sunday Legazpi Market: a body scrub coffee soap. It had the light tinge of coffee's distinct aroma while actual grounded coffee exfoliates and renews the skin. The idea seemed crazy but after just one bath, the once crazy idea led to a eureka for this nonbeliever.

The increasing selection of coffee scrubs, coffee-flavores lip balms, coffee-infused lotions and creams make it easier to see coffee as a typical beauty-regimen pick-me-upper. Coffee which contains caffeine effectively works as a vasodilator that constricts blood vessels within the skin which pushes water from the surface of the skin and improves circulation to reduce the cottage cheese effect of cellulite. In fact, the simplicity of this science can easily be claimed at home. In the absence of cellulite treatment products that already contain coffee as an active ingredient, just rub or place coffee on the problem area, leave for a few minutes (better if wrapped) and allow the caffeine to reduce the dimpling of the skin.

as published on ZEN Health magazine, July-August 2010


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