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Tony D and his four-cup coffee

– This article is dedicated to all Caribbean women, their families and friends, especially the men.

By Tony Deyal

I was sitting behind my computer looking at the many pages of research I had put together for today’s column. Unfortunately, I could go no further. In fact, I was doing everything but focusing on what I should write. It is how I came up with the word “pro-caffeinating” which is the determination not to start anything, especially writing an article, until I’ve had my coffee. Or, as my Uncle Harry used to say, drink it to the last drop and beg for more.

Actually, writing about coffee is the hardest thing to consider. I have found that however you muddle or meddle with it, coffee is a grind. I don’t have a problem with coffee. I have a problem without it.

What hurts is that in today’s world, some people would say that my inability to go ahead and do my article is because I don’t have coffee balls. I first thought that “coffee balls” was vulgar slang aimed at my testicles. Then I found out that “coffee balls” is a new way of brewing coffee.

However, the term still has two things in common with me- first, they are small, compostable and good for one serve, and worse, they are discarded after use because they are in a thin flavourless seaweed. While I am known as Tony D, this replacement is Coffee B. Every Saturday you get me for free. However, Coffee B costs almost US$200 for a 100 percent compostable ball which replaces coffee pods and ground coffee. While shelling out that amount of money makes me feel very much like the film star Audie Murphy in the movie “To Hell and Back”, the salespeople make it sound like “To Health and Back”. One of the experts, knowing my choice in coffee and complexion, made a pitch for “To Health and Black”. I felt like calling an American cop to arrest him. They like their coffee black with a couple of shots in it.

Some of you might call the police for me because you consider that comment disgusting. Fortunately, it is like the barista (someone who sells in a coffee bar) who was accused by his boss of stealing coffee beans.

Unfortunately, when the police looked into the case they found there were no grounds to press charges. Worse, the coffee filed a police report because it got mugged and then took the matter to court. It lost because it had no legal grounds. So those of you who see me in the worst light, you are right. I am indeed a four-cup man.

According to the experts, coffee keeps our kidneys healthy, particularly for people with diabetes. Each cup of coffee is linked to a reduction in kidney damage, up to a maximum of four cups. Two cups yield more health benefits than one, while three cups offer even more advantages. However, these increased benefits stop, like me, after four cups. What you should know is that it applies only to black coffee without sugar, any other unhealthy additives or, like me, adjectives and bad behaviour.

Coffee also helps you avoid weight gain. Coming back to my being on all-fours, the experts say that drinking the equivalent of three to four cups of instant coffee a day reduces the risk of many health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. A group of researchers found out that people who drank an extra cup of coffee a day gained less weight (about a quarter pound) than expected over four years. Sugar in the coffee, or adding milk, did not significantly affect this weight change.

Why did this happen? Coffee is a natural stimulant and temporarily reduces appetites and increases alertness. If you’re heading into the gym, it also helps to improve your workouts. Generally, caffeine speeds up our metabolism and causes more energy to be burned even when we’re resting. If you’re interested, most people can safely take in about 400 mgs of caffeine day-in other words (mine again) four cups of instant. It may also be beneficial for reducing physical frailty in late life. I will be 79 in August and I can guarantee that particular benefit from my four-cups.

A Singapore study has shown that adults who consumed higher intakes of caffeine via the drinking of coffee (or even tea) had significantly better physical function in later life. They have less rapid weight loss, exhaustion, slowness and weakness. Participants who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had significantly reduced odds of physical frailty in late life compared to participants who did not drink coffee daily.

For all my readers and friends, the case for coffee is stronger than ever. The studies indicate that you could be getting more from your coffee than you thought. It is chuck full of substances that may help guard against conditions more common in women (Alzheimer’s and heart diseases especially), and also people who are four-cup men like me.

The experts have found nine reasons why the right amount of coffee is good for you. I’ve already mentioned that you could live longer because coffee drinkers, especially women, are less likely to die from coronary health disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. Your body will be able to process glucose or sugar better and, as I said earlier, you are less likely to get type 2 diabetes.

Heart failure is unlikely or less likely if you’re drinking one of two cups of coffee a day, or even four. It is the same with Parkinson’s Disease. Caffeine is not only linked to a lower chance of developing the disease but it may also help those with the condition to better control their movements. I spelt it out for you because it is better to get your daily four-cups than to allow Parkinson to continue turning in his grave. If you go for it, I would not be the only one to thank you but your liver will as well.

Coffee drinks are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don’t drink coffee. The DNA strands can lead to cancer or tumours if not repaired by your cells. Researchers found that coffee drinkers – decaffeinated or regular – were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer worldwide which causes severe harm. For all women, that alone should be worth a cup or four. In fact, two cups of coffee may provide significant protection against your getting the condition. The researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank two to three (or even four) cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop dementia. You are not likely to suffer a stroke even with one cup a day which is enough to reduce what is now the fourth leading cause of death in women.

For women especially, as CCN said, “If you drink sugar-laden lattes and caramel macchiatos, you’re out of luck.” What I recommend is that while drinking your black coffee tell your partner, “Try a little vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon or cocoa but darling please hold the sugar. You’re sweet enough for the whole family.”

*Tony Deyal was last seen denying that his drinking four cups of coffee had anything to do with studies which found that coffee is the only real aphrodisiac for older men.



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