Forbes Magazine called Lebanon ‘The greatest food and wine country you’ve never visited’, citing “vibrant street life rife with Parisian-style cafes, coffee bars, revisited Lebanese restaurants, and cocktail dens” as reasons why it is a haven for gourmet lovers. Beirut is home to hip havens of coffee such as Urbanista, Café Younes, and Demo. These fragrant oases are buzzing with life and style, but they also reflect one important fact: in Lebanon, as in the rest of the world, diners have awakened to the fact that coffee consumption leads to healthier, longer life, whenever it is consumed in moderation.
Science behind the madness
The global penchant for coffee, as for other trendy foods and beverages, seems to have arisen spontaneously, yet this phenomenon can be considered the ripple effect of important findings on coffee’s health benefits. Over the past year, a bevy of findings have turned coffee from ‘bad guy’ to good, with one study by scientists at the University of California finding that people who drink coffee live longer, since this habit is associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. Another study in the same year (2017) found that coffee consumption in patients with HIV was associated with a lower risk of death. A 2018 study published in the journal PLOS, meanwhile, found that four cups of coffee daily protect the heart by enhancing function of the ‘battery’ of cells: the mitochondria.
Coffee and interpersonal relationships
If you’ve always thought that coffee houses were the ideal venue to meet friends, there may be a good reason why you should continue to do so. Researchers recently found that a steaming cup of dark brew helps teams work together, by making them more alert and therefore more receptive to their clients’ ideas and input. Yet another study found that coffee can boost performance at analytical tasks, which can also be helpful for teams working in these fields.
Moderation is key
Coffee is not for everyone, of course. There are risks involved with drinking it, including nervousness and increased anxiety in those who are already prone to this disorder. Coffee can also interfere with one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep, which is why doctors recommend that human beings avoid consumption in the later afternoon. If your heart rate rises or you begin to feel nervous after drinking caffeinated coffee, consider making the switch to decaffeinated varieties, which are still rich in antioxidants that help keep the body in good health.
Coffee has always been a key component of Lebanese cuisine, culture, and society, and recent scientific findings indicate that our ancestors got it right a long time ago. Coffee has health enhancing effects but also improves our ability to relate to others. Moderation is key for a good night’s sleep and of course, if anxiety or nervousness are a problem, decaf versions of your revered latte or short black are the way to go.
Contributed by Jane Watson.