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Coffee or Tea?

Interviewed and originally published in the Botswana Guardian newspaper.

Winter is a time where people are looking at ways to stay warm. While we can turn up our heaters, put more wood on the fire and curl up in blankets there is one thing that can warm from the inside out. A hot drink on a cold day is an antidote to most winter ills. People everywhere have switched from aromatic herbal teas to the sweeter drinks like hot chocolate, cappuccinos to the latte, espresso and frappuccinos to help endure those long dark winter nights. Coffee is one of the most popular drinks nowadays. The range includes the traditional espresso, cappuccinos, and latte, Irish coffee among others. These hot beverages were developed in the 1900s and became very popular in the 50’s when high-pressure espresso machines were introduced in cafes and restaurants around Europe. By mid 1990’s cappuccino was widely available in the US with the boom in the American coffee industry, according to a website.

The drink was generally taken with breakfast but has found their way into upscale cafes and terraces during mid day or after dinner in recent years. These hot drinks can take away those winter blues and make one feel toasty warm again. With marshmallows, cream, chocolate sprinkles and a biscuit, the drink can be both a hot drink and a creamy dessert. Espresso is highly concentrated and made with squeezed coffee beans and a small amount of boiling water. It is served in an espresso cup and coffee lovers can enjoy the exotic texture of the beverage. Cappuccino is one of the most wide known coffee drank around the world. It is a shot of espresso in a large cup with steamed milk and foam. To go with the hot drink one can also have it with a crunchy biscuit, dipped into it to enjoy the soft, wet taste sensation. In addition to the espressos, lattes and cappuccinos, Irish coffee can be a marvel for those who like a pinch of alcohol. It is a mixer of coffee Irish whisky served warm. It is an alternative winter drink.

Though popular, the coffees have really two sides to it. On one side it is healthy when drunk in moderation, however it is not healthy for children, and it’s definitely not very healthy when too much of it is consumed on a daily basis. Due to the caffeine content, it can easily bring about unwanted coffee addictions, a doctor has warned. “Recent research suggested coffee can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, especially for heart and brain health reasons. It is when we drink too much that it poses the greatest health risk. Studies show that we may be benefitting from more than just the energy-boosting caffeine in coffee. We might also be reaping its cancer-preventing and depression-lowering effects,” Dr Cory Couillard explained. The main risk, he opined, is that caffeine addiction and overconsumption causes high blood pressure and increased heart rate. “If you love coffee, drink it in moderation. 

Drink 1-2 cups at maximum per day. Coffee drinks such as cappuccino, mocha, latte are highly processed and contain large amounts of sugar and milk, providing no nutritional value but contribute to empty calories, which are a leading cause of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” he said. Tea or some water with lemon tastes great and can fight the winter blues. One can also add ginger, cinnamon, berries into the water to provide a natural, healthy and vibrant taste without any preservatives, or added sugar. “Tea has a stronger impact on the immune system than coffee does.  It is less addictive and can be drank easier with no sugar and milk. Hot chocolate is slightly better than cappuccino as chocolate has a minimal nutritional value,” Couillard advised.

Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

Facebook: Dr Cory Couillard
Twitter: DrCoryCouillard


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