Monday, 05 October 2015  -  21 Dhul-Hijjah 1436 H
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Arabic coffee: Mixed reviews for the popular brew

Coffee is increasingly treated as a source of life; a much-needed mug of energy first thing in the morning and just the thing to combat both stress and fatigue at the same time. In this part of the world too, coffee is often treated as a daily necessity, as well as a constant of Arabian hospitality.
Indeed, hospitality in the Kingdom, has long been associated with Arabic coffee, or qahwa as it is known. The unique and strong brew marks just about every memorable moment.
Coffee has sparked medical interest in recent years, being seen as the elixir of life for some to the downright unhealthy for others. Abdulmuhsen Al-Ghanem, from the College of Sciences and Foods at King Saud University recently studied the benefits and risks of drinking coffee and in an interview with Saudi Gazette concluded that it actually all depended on the way the coffee was prepared.
His study advises a reduction in the amount of Arabic coffee used during preparation so that it has a one to four ratio with water per liter.
Professor M. A. Al-Kanhal, from the Department of Community Health Sciences at King Saud University supports the view that coffee does more good than harm. “Arabic coffee has many anti-oxidant agents that work in the body,” he remarked. These anti-oxidants are thought to help battle cancer and provide other health benefits. “But these can by exploited by eating a lot of vegetables and fruits. It does not mean coffee is a substitute for fruits and vegetables,” he added.
Another issue is the link between excessive coffee consumption and its ability to produce hypercholesterolemic effects. Al-Ghanem shared his insight on its effects. “Most of the harm from coffee is due to its excessive consumption, as it may increase lipid levels in plasma as well as hemostine, which is one of the main causes of heart diseases and atherosclerosis, he explained. Several studies have reported that through the drinking of specially prepared coffee, the serum cholesterol level might increase. It was shown that this effect is caused by the lipids present in the coffee brew, which though poorly soluble in water, could be incorporated in the brew depending on the method of infusion.
Al-Kanhal agrees that it all boils down to the way coffee is brewed. “The composition of green Coffea Arabica beans consists of fatty acids like Tricylglycerols, which have been found to be the major lipid constituents of oil in coffee,” he said. The longer coffee is brewed, therefore, the more chance of the fatty acids in coffee decomposing and causing harm. – SG
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