I was once asked what motivates me to get up in the morning (casual conversation at a Christmas party a couple of years ago). In that moment I couldn’t quite find the answer. After pondering a couple of days I thought it was that I was keen to make this new day better than yesterday. After thinking about it a little longer I changed my answer. The truth for me is that it’s just thinking of that first sip of coffee. That’s what gets me up and out of bed. It’s not about the whole cup, just that first sip.

Talk about an industry that has taken off. These days it seems that coffee shops and microbreweries have got the market cornered in the beverage world. I will admit to being somewhat of a coffee snob but I really do love that first sip in the morning. I will drink instant coffee if there isn’t anything else around.

Coffee comes from trees. The beans that we know and love to grind are actually the roasted seeds from the fruit that is called the coffee cherry. The coffee cherry goes along the branches of the tree. Because of the continuous growth cycle it’s common to see the flower, the green fruit and the ripe fruit simultaneously on a tree. Coffee plants can live up to 100 years but they are most productive between the ages of 7 and 20.

There are many health benefits from drinking coffee on a regular basis including:

•    Has protective benefits for post-menopausal breast cancer; 

•    Lower risk of colon cancer in women; 

•    May prevent the recurrence of liver cancer in adults; 

•    Lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes; and, 

•    Lower the risk of stroke.  

And then there’s the caffeine buzz. Caffeine naturally occurs in coffee. There is research out now that suggests that up to 400 mg of caffeine on a daily basis does not have adverse health effects. There is approximately 95 mg of caffeine in a brewed cup (8 oz) of coffee so that would be 4 cups. We’re all different so that number is a general guideline. Personally, my limit is 3 cups or l believe it negatively affects my sleep. 

As with anything, moderation is the key. Enjoy your first, second or third cup fully. Make sure it’s not getting in the way of a good night’s sleep and watch for the extra calories it adds to your day. A brewed cup of black coffee has less than 5 calories per cup. When we add the other stuff (cream and sugar) or get the fancy coffees those calories start to add up. 

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