We're surely oversimplifying, but there seems to be a field of medical research that specializes in finding that certain pleasures — a couple of glasses of wine, for example — once thought to be bad for you turn out in actuality to be good for you.
Now it's coffee's turn. A study led by University of Scranton chemistry professor Joe Vinson found that coffee is really good for you and is, in fact, the leading source of antioxidants in the American diet. And antioxidants are important because they help forestall liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Other leading sources of antioxidants in the national diet include tea, red wine and beer. But none of them, however, is close to coffee if only because we drink so much of it. A cup or two a day will do it, Vinson says.
Americans drink about 60 percent of their daily antioxidants, but Vinson says we would be better off getting them from eating more fruits and vegetables — dates are packed with antioxidants — because they also have vitamins, minerals and fiber. But let's face it: We don't really want to change our habits — just be reassured that the existing ones are OK.
The good news from this study is that the coffee break is not just wasting time; it's an important preventive health measure. And the bad news is that those coffee snobs at high-end cafes will be even more irritating.