Coffee drinkers will be glad to hear that drinking moderate amounts of caffeinated coffee regularly may actually have positive health benefits.
Many individuals find themselves unable to start their day without a hot cup of coffee to get them going. Coffee houses are never lacking for customers as people stream in and out for their daily caffeine fix. Coffee lovers will be overjoyed to find out that the beverage they cannot live without may actually be good for them as long as they do not drink it in excess.
Coffee, the much maligned but undoubtedly beloved beverage, just made headlines for possibly cutting the risk of the latest disease epidemic, type 2 diabetes. And the real news seems to be that the more you drink, the better. Perhaps a instead of an apple, a cup of coffee a day can keep the doctor away!
After analyzing data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years, Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America’s favorite morning drink, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits.
Though the scientists give the customary “more research is needed” before they recommend you do overtime at Starbuck’s, their findings are very similar to those in a less-publicized Dutch study. And perhaps more importantly, it’s the latest of hundreds of studies suggesting that coffee may be something of a health food — especially in higher amounts.
In recent decades, some 19,000 studies have been done examining coffee’s impact on health. And for the most part, their results are as pleasing as a gulp of freshly brewed Breakfast Blend for the 108 million Americans who routinely enjoy this traditionally morning — and increasingly daylong — ritual. In practical terms, regular coffee drinkers include the majority of U.S. adults and a growing number of Children.
“Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful,” says Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist at Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Coffee Studies, which conducts its own medical research and tracks coffee studies from around the world. “For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good.”
Reduced Gall Stones
The Harvard School of Public Health recently published a study indicating that drinking caffeinated coffee on a regular basis can dramatically decrease the incidence of gall bladder disease and gall stones in both women and men.
Reduced Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
Two studies, one published in the European Journal of Neurology, have shown that individuals who drank about 2 cups of caffeinated coffee per day were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than individuals who drank no coffee or a small to moderate amount.
Reduced Risk for Parkinson’s Disease
Studies have shown that the amount of coffee and caffeine consumed could be inversely related to an individual’s likelihood of contracting Parkinson’s disease. This means the more coffee you drink, the lower your chances are for developing the disease.
Antioxidants and Cancer-Fighting Properties
Coffee is a powerful source of antioxidants – agents that combat cancer-causing free radicals. Coffee is chock full of the compound methylpyridinium, which can’t be found in many other food items and not at the level available in coffee. You can get antioxidants from both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee as long as the beans are sufficiently roasted.
Increased Cognitive Ability
Studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers frequently score significantly higher on cognitive ability tests, spatial awareness exams, IQ tests, and short term memory studies.
The effects of coffee on an individual’s cognitive ability appeared to be more pronounced in elderly study participants and women.
Coffee is a stimulant and also a laxative. Some alternative practitioners even prescribe coffee enemas to stimulate the lower colon.
However, because coffee is also a diuretic, it can cause constipation in some individuals.
Reduced Risk for Gout
A large study of over 45,000 men that was conducted over a 12-year period showed the amount of coffee consumed was inversely related to their risk or likelihood of developing gout.
Coffee even offsets some of the damage caused by other vices, some research indicates. “People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don’t,” says DePaulis.
There’s also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood, and even prevent cavities.
Is it the caffeine? The oodles of antioxidants in coffee beans, some of which become especially potent during the roasting process? Even other mysterious properties that warrant this intensive study? Actually, yes.
Researchers from the University of Scranton released on August 29, 2005 that coffee is the No. 1 source of antioxidants in the American diet. Black tea is the second. Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in foods that can prevent or slow oxidative damage to our body. When our cells utilize oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage to other cells. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers” and hence prevent and repair damage inflicted by these free radicals. Fruits and vegetables are hailed as the richest sources of antioxidants, but this study shows that coffee is the main source from which most Americans get their antioxidants. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee appear to provide similar amounts of antioxidants.
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