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Cut down the coffee

Anumeha Chaturvedi     November 15, 2009

We all know that there’s really nothing to beat that curiously intoxicating smell of freshly ground coffee beans—as well as that addictive first cup—to jump-start your day. But it’s not just the morning—a steaming cup always comes in handy while driving negotiations, initiating great conversations or even kicking back next to a log fire.

It even gets a nod from researchers like Thomas H. Lee, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston. Attributing the benefits to large, long-term studies, Lee says that “long-running research shows that drinking coffee cuts the risk of dying early from a heart attack or stroke, and the bean improves productivity, too.”

Now, before you make a manic sprint to the nearest store for a cappuccino machine, you may want to listen to what Upasna Kamineni, Vice Chairman, Apollo Charities, and an active campaigner for health issues, has to say. “Coffee is both a health and a social hazard, and the cons far outweigh the pros,” she says. Kamineni, also the Director of Lifetime Wellness RX, an Apollo Group body that conducts health talks, assessments and camps and also undertakes research-based projects on lifestyle disorders, thinks that it’s best one stays away from the brew altogether.

“The excessive caffeine in coffee can boost your blood pressure and can leave you dehydrated. Add milk and sugar, and it becomes a recipe for disaster, that is bound to add extra pounds,” she adds. Aerated drinks and canned fruit juices also get a thumbs down from her. “Aerated drinks and canned fruit juices have a high concentration of sugar and should be avoided in the mornings. Try jasmine and green tea or even lemon water as the three are rich in antioxidants.” Kamineni recommends switching over to juices and lemon soda by afternoon.

“Buttermilk is easy on your digestive system, too, and goes well with most Indian foods,” she says. And for those of you who just can’t kick the coffee habit, she suggests skipping milk. “Taken black, both coffee and tea are calorie-free and full of antioxidants.” Not a bad option for the coffee-crazy but health-conscious folks out there.


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