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5 ways with coffee

5 ways with coffee

coffee break

Sunday 1st October is International Coffee Day, so here in the Healthy office we’re celebrating the humble bean. A raft of research suggests that drinking coffee can have positive effects on our health, but why stop there? With benefits ranging from a healthier ticker to an endurance boost, we think it’s well worth rolling up those sleeves and getting creative…

Beetroot roasted over coffee beans with gremolata

Best for: a brain boost

Serves 6:

910g beetroot, the roots and leafy tops trimmed 180g coffee beans 2 tbsp cumin seeds Sea salt and ground black pepper 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the gremolata:

35g hazelnuts Zest of 1 and juice of ½ an orange ½ garlic clove, chopped 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Sea salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 110°C/90°C fan/gas mark ¼.

Peel the beetroot and cut into wedges.

Heat a large ovenproof pan over a medium heat for 5 mins, add the coffee beans and remove from heat; shake pan for about 1 min, until beans release their oil. Scatter the beets over the beans; season with cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake 4 hours till the beets are soft.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata by toasting hazelnuts for 30 seconds in a hot pan. Tip nuts on to a kitchen towel; rub to remove the skin. Chop nuts and mix in a bowl with orange zest and juice, garlic, oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Lift beetroot from pan (discard the coffee beans) and toss with the oil and gremolata; serve.

Healthy benefits: Research from John Hopkins University found that caffeine has a positive effect on long-term memory. People were given caffeine or a placebo and asked to recall images they’d seen the previous day, the caffeine crew did better. Beetroot also enhances our grey matter. US researchers found it ups blood flow to the brain in older adults – its high nitrate content helps open up blood vessels.

Chocolate coffee energy balls

Best for: athletic performance

Makes 12 balls:

90g oats 85g ground flaxseed 1½ tbsp fresh ground coffee beans 85g honey 125g almond butter 1 tsp vanilla extract 40g dark chocolate chips 30g dried cranberries Desiccated coconut (optional)

Mix oats, flaxseed and coffee in a bowl. Stir in honey, almond butter and vanilla, then fold in chocolate and cranberries. Chill in fridge for 20 mins.

Make 12 balls, then roll in coconut, if using.

Healthy benefits: A US review of over 600 articles on caffeine and endurance found 3-7mg caffeine per kilo of body weight raised performance by an average 24 per cent. A cup of coffee has 75mg-150mg caffeine so wash these energy-boosting balls down with an Americano and double your gains!

Espresso veggie bean chilli

Best for: balancing blood sugar levels

Serves 4:

2 shallots, finely chopped 1 tbsp rapeseed oil 4 cloves garlic, crushed 1 400g can tomatoes 1 400g can haricot beans 1 chipotle chilli, diced 2 tbsp molasses 1 tbsp muscovado sugar 1 tbsp mustard powder 3 espressos Handful coriander, roughly chopped

In an ovenproof pan, gently fry shallots in oil for 5 mins until soft; add garlic, cook for 1 min.

Add all ingredients except coriander; stir.

Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4, for 40 mins, until liquid has reduced; if it’s dry, add some water swilled around the tomato tin.

Scatter with coriander; serve with quinoa.

Healthy benefits: Several studies have linked coffee with a decreased diabetes risk, due to its bioactive components. One concluded that cafestol, found in coffee, increased glucose uptake in muscle cells as much as an antidiabetic drug, whilst research published in Diabetologia found increasing coffee consumption by 1½ cups a day over four years cut type 2 diabetes risk by 11 per cent.

Coffee chia smoothie

Best for: heart health

Serves 1:

100ml unsweetened almond milk 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt 1 banana 1 shot cold espresso 1 tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp ground cinnamon 5 pecan nuts 2 tbsp chia seeds

Blend everything except chia seeds. Pour into a glass; add chia. Chill in fridge for 10 mins to allow seeds to puff up; stir well!

Healthy benefits: Chia seeds are packed with heart healthy omega-3, which complements the effect of the caffeine in coffee. Research has shown it may help your small blood vessels work better. After drinking a cup of coffee, people in a US study had a 30 per cent increase in blood flow over 75 mins, compared to decaf.

Vegan mocha cake

Best for: a vegan treat!

Makes a 7-inch layer cake:

225g self-raising wholemeal flour, sifted 2 tbsp soya flour 6 dsp cocoa, sifted 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp cream of tartar 200g caster sugar 250ml water

For the filling:

50g vegan margarine 110g icing sugar 1 tsp espresso Few drops of vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6, and grease two 7-inch round tins.

Mix the flours, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and sugar in a bowl.

Stir in the water and divide the batter between the two tins. Bake for 25 mins. Cool in the tins for 15 mins, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Make filling: beat together margarine with half the icing sugar; add remainder, beat again. Gradually stir in coffee until smooth and spreadable; add vanilla essence. Spread the filling over the top of the first cake, then place the second cake on top.

Healthy benefits: This is cake, so don’t go too wild, but research has shown that those who eat a vegan diet tend to be slimmer, so why not have a slice of something yummy? A study by the University of South Carolina compared the weight loss of vegans, those on a mostly plant-based diet, and those eating meat and plant-based foods. After six months, the vegans had lost the most weight, saw the greatest fall in their fat and saturated fat levels, and had lower BMIs. The study’s lead author also pointed out that the vegans didn’t shun carbs, they ate lots of low-GI ones.


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