Wild coffee's energizing effect was likely first discovered in the northeast region of Ethiopia. Coffee cultivation first took place in southern Arabia; the earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen.
In East Africa and Yemen, coffee was used in native religious ceremonies that were in competition with the Christian Church. As a result, the Ethiopian Church banned its secular consumption until the reign of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. The beverage was also banned in Ottoman Turkey during the 17th century for political reasons and was associated with rebellious political activities in Europe.
Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seeds, are produced by several species of a small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are also the most highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the "robusta" form of the hardier Coffea canephora. The latter is resistant to the coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix). Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor, before being ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.
An important export commodity, coffee was the top agricultural export for twelve countries in 2004, and it was the world's seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value in 2005. Some controversy is associated with coffee cultivation and its impact on the environment. Consequently, organic coffee is an expanding market.
Many studies have examined the health effects of coffee, and whether the overall effects of coffee consumption are positive or negative has been widely disputed. The majority of recent research suggests that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults. However, coffee can worsen the symptoms of some conditions, such as anxiety, largely due to the caffeine and diterpenes it contains.
Coffee consumption has generally been shown to have little or no impact on cancer development. Other studies suggest coffee consumption reduces the risk of prostate cancer, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and gout. It may increase the risk of acid reflux and associated diseases.
The fact that decaffeinated coffee also exhibits preventative effects against diseases such as prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes suggests that coffee's health benefits are not solely a product of its caffeine content. Specifically, the antidiabetic effect of caffeine has been attributed to caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid.
The presence of antioxidants in coffee has been shown to prevent free radicals from causing cell damage. Evidence suggests that roasted coffee has a stronger antioxidant effect than green coffee.
Coffee is no longer thought to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Caffeine acts as an acute antidepressant. A review published in 2004 indicated a negative correlation between suicide rates and coffee consumption. It was suggested that the action of caffeine in blocking the inhibitory effects of adenosine on dopamine nerves in the brain reduced feelings of depression. Coffee consumption is also associated with improved endothelial function.
SOURCE:From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia