Saturday, November 20, 2010


Drinking Coffee Could Be Brewing Better Health for You.

In recent years, there’s been a lot of research percolating about coffee’s health benefits, along with some coffee-and-health misconceptions, too.


With 56 percent of the adult American population drinking at least one cup of coffee a day, according to the National Coffee Association, many people wonder if coffee drinking is healthy for them. Good news! A number of recent studies all found that coffee - in moderation(a few cups per day)— is a safe beverage and, in may cases, exhibits some health benefits. “Coffee has more than 2,000 different chemical components, including cancer-fighting antioxidants,” said Donald Hensrud, associate professor of Preventative Medicine and Nutrition at the Mayo Clinic, as quoted in a recent USA Today article. His statement is backed up by a 2009 study from the American Association for Cancer Research that shows men who drink the most coffee were nearly 60 percent less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than non-coffee drinkers.

Coffee is also associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer and cirrhosis in heavy alcohol drinkers, and for people without heart disease, a long-term study in the Netherlands showed that coffee could lower heartdisease risk. “The Netherlands researchers studiedmore than 37,000 people for 13 years, and found that people who drank more than two, but no more than four, cups of coffee per day had about a 20 percent lower risk for heart disease,” said a story about the study on the WebMD website. The study did not include people with known heart disease, so it is unclear if drinking coffee is beneficial for them.

Interestingly, several of these studies included decaffeinated coffee, and the results were similar, so caffeine appears to not necessarily be coffee’s main
beneficial component; however, studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee does boost cognitive ability and attention span.

Recently, Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 2 (adult onset) Diabetes have been added to the “reduced risk” category for coffee drinkers, according to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Weekly News Bulletin. “Frank Hu, Harvard Medical School, noted that coffee contains caffeine, numerous bioactive compounds, chlorogenic acid, minerals and antioxidants, which may help explain coffee’s healthpromoting properties.” The article also said, “A large Finnish study of men and women, with a 21-year follow-up, found that drinking three-to-five cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 65 percent. A Canadian study of Health and Aging, with a 10-year follow-up, found that regular coffee consumption … resulted in
about a 28 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. [Overall] cognitive decline was seen less in coffee drinkers.”

National Public Radio’s website expresses some caution about these results: ”…experts say the research only establishes a correlation between coffee drinking and brain protection … it’s possible that these regular coffee drinkers might have other habits in common that could explain the positive effect. Reisa Sperling, an Alzheimer’s researcher at Harvard University, cautions, ‘People who are very active in mid-life are more likely to be drinking coffee than are couch potatoes. Alzheimer’s is an incredibly complicated disease. Exercise and good nutrition do seem to be protective, but a person’s risk is largely determined by genes.’”

For More Information on Coffee/Tea and Health Issues:
Institute of Food Technologists:
Harvard Public Health:
Coffee Science (a division of the National Coffee Association):
CoSIC, the Coffee Science Information Centre:
WebMD: (type coffee health in the search box)

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