August 29, 2011

Category Archives: Health benefits of Turkish Coffee

Health benefits of Turkish Coffee

How Turkish Coffee Helped My Dad Quit Smoking and Continue Living

mustafacoffeeEven though my family is Turkish, we didn’t discover the delights of drinkingTurkish coffee until a few years ago. My dad sort of stumbled up on it whilelooking for ways to quit smoking (after a heart attack, he knew that if he wanted to continue living, his terrible smoking habit would have to stop.) 

While my dad was reading everything he could get his hands on to figure out how he could quit smoking, he read somewhere that the best way to lose a bad habit is to swap it with a good one. That made a lot sense to him, so he started to search for a “good habit.”

People that have had to quit this habit know that one of the worst times the cravings occur is right after meals. He needed something to help during these periods and started to make Turkish coffee after his meals.

Why Turkish coffee?

Because it requires patience, it takes concentration; it’s drunk sip by sip, which is great for curbing urges.
There are several reasons for it being a relaxing activity. For one, Turkish coffee is not the kind of a beverage you can just grab it and run with it, or gulp down on the rush to work. You have to sit down before you can even drink it– otherwise, it will spill because the cups are so small!

Then what? 

Well, you have to wait a little for the grounds to settle at the bottom. You are most likely dying to take a sip at this point, but patience is essential to a sound mind. Now is a great time to strike up an interesting conversation with a family member or anyone nearby. 

In general, coffee has a powerful ability to enhance communication and interaction. This is particularly true about Turkish coffee, for the reasons being discussed.

Now what?

Take a sip.

Just “a sip?”

Well, you can’t chug the thing down like a Starbucks milkshake.

And why is that?

Well, for several reasons. For one, you need to wait a minute or so for the grounds to settle. Next, you don’t want to rush through the experience! The foamy layer on the top is considered by most to be the richest part of the experience; there are subtle nuances in flavor that should not be rushed through.

And, the coffee did take some time to prepare, so you don’t exactly want to rush at this point.

Most importantly, just relax. 

Take some time to savor it slowly and really appreciate the Turkish coffee experience. Draw a deep breath, and notice the rich deepness in scent that is only released from grinding beans to such a fine consistency. Sip the coffee and swish it around you palate to really taste the flavor – just like wine tasting (in fact, the word “coffee” is thought to originate from “kahwa,” which translates directly to wine in some languages.)

Calm yourself, reap the benefits of your preparation and enjoy the activity that people have been enjoying for centuries. This is what Turkish coffee is about.

After all this, you’ll find yourself only 3/4ths of the way into actually drinking your coffee. Don’t worry about it getting cold; Turkish coffee cups have been designed and crafted especially for the purpose of keeping the drink hot for long periods of time. The cups are very thin, and the material retains heat so well that the coffee stays hot for a long time. In contrast, modern drip coffee cups of flimsy cardboard and foam hold no light to this classic perfection.

In addition, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone drinking Turkish coffee out of a plain white demitasse cup. The cups used are usually decorated with colorful art designs. Sometimes, the uniqueness or the artistry of a certain cup itself will even spark a conversation!

Lets continue the process.

While you’re sitting there, sublimely sipping your coffee, why not include some sweets to compliment your creation? Many people like to have a Turkish delight or a piece of baklava on the side rather than adding any sugar to their cup. (By the way, the key to these sweets is freshness, freshness, freshness. This can often be difficult to find in your locale, so rest assured that our sweets are fresh from Turkey.)

By now, you are getting to the bottom of your cup, so is the whole ritual over? No, not quite yet. Now you need to turn your coffee cup upside down on your saucer. Why? Well, there are people who claim to have an ability to read your fortune from the grinds. It’s sort of like reading your horoscope from a cup of coffee. Even if you don’t believe in these sorts of things, the results can be very interesting, and your imagination will be perked.

What do you see? A healthier future?

Be social and prosper.

The experience of drinking Turkish coffee continues beyond the last sip. As stated earlier, the beverage has be lauded for as a catalyst for opening dialogue and causing one to engage in invigorating conversation.

While the beverage is still delicious and worthwhile alone, Turkish coffee is really all about socializing. Like a good glass of wine, it was meant to be shared. There is one Turkish proverb that states: “One neither desires coffee nor coffee house, one desires to converse, coffee is but an excuse.”

Any smoker knows that their habit is just as social in nature; this is why Turkish coffee is a great replacement for the rituals of you past habit. Grab a friend a make them your “coffee buddy,” who will meet with you to prepare the drink on a regular basis. 

Start a town meet up for smokers that want to quit and take on a new habit, and collectively fall in love with Turkish coffee. Bond with members of your household by sharing you new hobby with them, and encourage them to try it even if they “don’t like coffee.”

I hope Turkish coffee can be as helpful to you in your quest to quit the habit as it was to my dad. Let us know in the comments if you decide to take the “Turkish coffee challenge.” Good luck!

Coffee Drinking May Prolong Life

I recently read a very informative article article entitled, “Coffee Drinking May Prolong Life” by Madeline Ellis. Ellis informs us of a new study done by Autonoma University in Madrid, Spain, which suggests that, “drinking coffee in moderate amounts, up to six cups a day, may actually reduce the risks of death in general, and may help to combat heart disease, especially in women.
I’ve posted the article below in its entirety:

The aroma….the taste….the caffeine lift! No wonder millions of people, both young and old, around the world love nothing better than sitting down to a good cup of coffee. But as with many other things we enjoy in our everyday life, we often question whether it is good for us. Over the years there have been thousands of studies done on the health effects of coffee, yielding no clear consensus. However, the latest and one of the largest studies ever conducted suggests that drinking coffee in moderate amounts, up to six cups a day, may actually reduce the risks of death in general, and may help to combat heart disease, especially in women.

In the study, researchers led by Dr. Esther Lopez-Garcia, assistant professor of preventative medicine at the Autonoma University in Madrid, Spain, tracked 86,214 female nurses, who had participated in the Nurse’s Health Study, from 1980 to 2004 and 41,736 male veterinarians, pharmacists and other health care workers, who had participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, from 1986 to 2004. At the onset of the study, all volunteers were free of heart disease and cancer.
The participants answered detailed questionnaires every two to four years, which included information about their coffee consumption and other dietary habits, weight, exercise habits, smoking history and health conditions. The researchers then compared the frequency of death from any cause, death due to heart disease, and death due to cancer among people with different coffee-drinking habits. After accounting for other risk factors, such as smoking, diet and body size, the researchers found that women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and an 18 percent lower death risk from a cause other than cancer or heart disease, compared to non-coffee drinkers. For men, the study did not find an increase or decrease in death risk. Dr. Lopez-Garcia surmised it could be that there were fewer men involved in the study and they were tracked for a shorter period of time.

The researchers found the lower risk of death was mainly due to a lower risk for death from heart disease, and they found no link between coffee drinking and cancer deaths. And, according to the researchers, participants who drank caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee had similar death rates, suggesting that caffeine was not responsible for the effect.

“Our results suggest that long-term, regular coffee consumption does not increase the risk of death and probably has several beneficial effects on health,” said Dr. Lopez-Garcia. However, she also stressed that the study findings should be read with caution and may only hold true for healthy people. Those “with any disease or condition should ask their doctor about their risk, because caffeine still has an acute effect on short-term increase of blood pressure,” she said.

Dr. Peter Galier, an internal medicine specialist, former chief of staff at Santa Monica UCLA and Orthopedic Hospital and associate professor of medicine at the University of California Los Angeles’ David Geffen School of Medicine, said that while the study is interesting, it does have its pitfalls. For instance, self-reporting could be one, since people may have under or over-reported their coffee consumption. “I think what this study tells us is not so much that coffee is the answer to everything. But, rather, that some compounds, such as the antioxidants found in coffee, may be healthy,” he said.

“There’s very little evidence that coffee itself is a bad thing. It’s gotten a bit of a bum rap,” said Ken Mukamal, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Mukamal, who did not participate in this study, has been involved in other epidemiological studies on coffee and mortality. Mukamal point out that past studies have shown that the health effects of coffee may depend on how it’s made. He said that boiled drinks like Turkish coffee and French press have high levels of a cholesterol-boosting compound called cafestol, and “coffee drinks” like mocha triple venti lattes are full of calories, which may offset any benefit of the coffee itself. In comparison, filtered drip coffee, which most of the survey respondents likely consumed, has few calories and almost no cafestol. The study is probably “saying something about filtered, good old-fashioned 1980’s and 1990’s coffee and not saying very much about the fancy kinds of coffee that you might be drinking in 2008,” he said.

The study findings were reported in the June 17 Annals of Internal Medicine.

Daily caffeine ‘protects brain’

776552093_71c4ea123d_mHere is a very informative and interesting article on the benefits of coffee from BBC. According to scientists in the UK, a cup of coffee will help protect the “blood brain barrier,” which works toward lessening a whole host of neurological ailments. This progress has been noted in rabbits, with high-hopes for similar results in healthy adults and Alzheimer’s patients.      

Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests.


The drink has already been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, and a study by a US team for the Journal of Neuroinflammation may explain why.
A vital barrier between the brain and the main blood supply of rabbits fed a fat-rich diet was protected in those given a caffeine supplement.
UK experts said it was the “best evidence yet” of coffee’s benefits.

 Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders
Dr Jonathan Geiger
University of North Dakota

The “blood brain barrier” is a filter which protects the central nervous system from potentially harmful chemicals carried around in the rest of the bloodstream.
Other studies have shown that high levels of cholesterol in the blood can make this barrier “leaky”.
Alzheimer’s researchers suggest this makes the brain vulnerable to damage which can trigger or contribute to the condition.
The University of North Dakota study used the equivalent to just one daily cup of coffee in their experiments on rabbits.
After 12 weeks of a high-cholesterol diet, the blood brain barrier in those given caffeine was far more intact than in those given no caffeine.
‘Safe drug’
“Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky,” said Dr Jonathan Geiger, who led the study.
“High levels of cholesterol are a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps by compromising the protective nature of the blood brain barrier.
“Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.”
A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society said that the barrier seemed to work less efficiently in people who went on to develop Alzheimer’s or suffer strokes, and the cholesterol link might explain this.
“This is the best evidence yet that caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee a day can help protect the brain against cholesterol.
“In addition to its effect on the vascular system, elevated cholesterol levels also cause problems with the blood brain barrier.”
She called for more research into whether the same effect could be seen in humans.

Click here to see more information from BCC regarding the story.

High coffee consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

A medical article by Rob M. van Dam, PhD and Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) suggests that higher coffee consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The objective of the study was to “examine the association between habitualcoffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes and related outcomes:”

We searched MEDLINE through January 2005 and examined the reference lists of the retrieved articles. Because this review focuses on studies of habitualcoffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, we excluded studies of type 1 diabetes, animal studies, and studies of short-term exposure to coffee or caffeine, leaving 15 epidemiological studies (cohort or cross-sectional).