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Did you get a coffee press during the holidays? European coffee presses are all the rage this year! Not only is it very fashionable and hip to have one in your kitchen, but it also makes undeniably rich and fresh coffee. But could enjoying too much coffee have a negative impact on your health? Was Aunt Lucy trying to get back at you for making fun of her ugly holiday sweater?
Pressed coffee is made by combining ground coffee beans and boiling hot water in a special glass pitcher, called a French press, and allowing it to steep. You then press a mesh plunger down to strain the liquid and trap the coffee grounds. Since no coffee filter is used, some coffee grounds occasionally end up in your cup. These grounds contain oily substances called diterpenes that may have a negative impact on your health.
Professor Eric Rimm from Harvard University stated that “five to eight cups a day of unfiltered coffee may actually raise your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.” But don’t put your French press on eBay just yet. If you’re drinking five to eight cups of pressed coffee per day, Rimm recommends getting your cholesterol checked more often and monitoring it closely. Even better, decrease your intake to less than four cups per day.
Rimm also adds that if you don’t have a coffee press or prefer filtered coffee, drinking one to five cups of filtered coffee is the sweet spot to cash in on those health benefits. Some studies show that drinking coffee may have positive health effects such as lowering blood pressure, slowing weight gain with age, and reducing the risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other neurological diseases.
While coffee may perk you up and provide an array of health benefits, adding creamers and sweeteners will have the opposite effects. Be aware of what you’re putting into your coffee and enjoy it in moderation!
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and coffee-filled New Year!
Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.
Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.
She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.
Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!