Last month, I wrote about the benefits of turmeric. If you didn't catch it, you can read it here. Now, let's tackle a popular drink, coffee.
I'm a coffee drinker. My morning starts with a cup of coffee and my evening ends with a cup of coffee. Feels like something is missing when I don't get to drink a cup of coffee and I'm sorry to say (for all of you who are tea drinkers), tea isn't quite the same for me. I have been given the raised eyebrow so many times when offered a certain beverage (orange juice, tea, or a soda) because I politely decline and I ask if perhaps they can offer me coffee instead. Seems that coffee has a bad reputation or maybe I should have asked for a cold beer instead.
|Coffee and its health benefits.|
"Health Benefits of Coffee" by Nick Youngson
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7 Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee
1. Coffee and Type 2 Diabetes
It has been found that coffee intake may be protective against type 2 diabetes. Researchers at UCLA have found that plasma levels of the protein Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG), which controls the activity of the body's sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, increases when drinking coffee preventing the development of type 2 diabetes. According to the authors of the study, "there is an inverse association" that exists between coffee and type 2 diabetes meaning, the more you drink, the more you reduce your risk of developing the disease.
Another study done by the Harvard School of Public Health found that those that increased their coffee intake by more than 1 cup (average of 1.69 cups/day) for a 4 year period had an 11% lower risk.
In addition, a cup of decaf decreases the risk to 6%.
2. Coffee and Liver Cancer
Italian researchers found that daily coffee consumption decreases the risk of liver cancer by 40%. Furthermore, when 3 cups of coffee were consumed on a daily basis, the risk lowered even more to 50%.
3. Coffee and Liver Disease
Although refraining from excessive alcohol intake reduces the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis altogether, studies have found that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of cirrhosis of the liver in alcoholic drinkers by 22%. In the journal Hepatology (2014), research suggested that coffee intake is linked to a decrease liver cirrhosis death risk. The researchers suggested that drinking 2 or more cups of coffee daily may reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%. Other studies have found that decaf also lowers liver enzyme levels thus suggesting that decaf drinkers also benefit a reduced risk.
4. Coffee and Parkinson's Disease
A US study concluded that "higher coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a lower incidence of Parkinson's Disease." Published in the journal Neurology, caffeine may help control movement in patients suffering from Parkinson's Disease.
5. Coffee and Alzheimer's Disease
According to studies, caffeine intake was associated with significantly lower risk of Alzheimer's Disease, thus confirming future prospective studies on the major impact of coffee in the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease.
6. Coffee and Heart Health
Researchers concluded that drinking coffee in moderation protects against heart failure. They defined "in moderation" as two 8 fl. oz servings/day. People who drank two 8 fl oz servings per day had an 11% lower risk of heart failure.
7. Coffee and Longevity
A new study adds to growing evidence that consuming 4-5 cups daily reduces the risk of early death even for those who drank decaf.
May help those suffering from depression.
Reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.
Caffeine's neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties may lower risk of multiple sclerosis.
Anti-inflammatory properties may aid in post-workout pain and diminish pain by 48%.
Contributes to fiber intake. 1 cup contains 1.8g of fiber.
Although most of the research cited above have demonstrated that there are more benefits linked to caffeinated coffee, decaf can provide you some benefits. Unfortunately, because of the decaffeination process used to produce decaf, the number of anti-oxidants that are linked to the various benefits are reduced.
|I love coffee!|
Image credit: Pixabay
Is coffee beneficial to all?
Not entirely. Those with pre-existing heart conditions, diagnosed with hypertension, people who are overly sensitive to caffeine, children, and pregnant and nursing women are recommended to reduce or abstain from caffeine intake.
Caffeine Safe Amounts
For healthy adults with no pre-existing medical conditions, it is generally agreed that 300-400 mg of caffeine can be consumed daily.
400 mg of caffeine is equivalent to:
5.2 shots of espresso
2 5 Hour Energy Shots
1 Starbucks Venti Brewed Coffee
2.5 16 Fl.oz. Monster Energy Drink
5 8oz. Red Bulls
11.7 12 Fl.oz. Cokes
For children, because of the continuous development of their brains and bodies, it is wise for parents to limit the caffeine intake of their children. Caffeine, being a stimulant, interferes with sleep which is important for a child's development. An occasional caffeinated soda or chocolate treat is fine but, shouldn't be part of a child's daily diet.
For developing teens (ages 13-18), it is advised that caffeine also be limited for reasons of brain development and because of possible unknown medical conditions. Despite of this, because of the demands of school, sports, and even work, caffeine intake is becoming more common in this age group. It is advised that developing teens should have no more than 100 mg of caffeine daily.
100 mg of caffeine is equivalent to:
1.3 shots of espresso
1.25 8 Fl.oz. Red Bull
0.5 of a 5 Hour Energy Shot
0.6 of 16 Fl.oz. of a Monster Energy Drink
0.2 of a Starbucks Venti Brewed Coffee
3 12 fl. oz. Cokes
Caffeine for Those with Health Concerns
Being a stimulant, caffeine increases heart rate and blood pressure. Patients with arrhythmias, murmurs, and high blood pressure should limit intake. It is advised that you consult your physician regarding caffeine intake.
Type 2 Diabetes
Although caffeine decreases the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes, those that are already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should limit coffee/caffeine consumption because it can impair glucose metabolism. Again, consult your physician regarding caffeine intake.
Pregnant and Nursing Women
Although there have been studies that 200-300mg of caffeine daily is safe for pregnant women, it is recommended to abstain from caffeine intake for the safety of the fetus. When I was pregnant, I abstained from drinking coffee, caffeinated soda, and even stayed away from chocolate (had to because I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes). There have been studies regarding the risks of caffeine and pregnancy and these are:1. Increase risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.
2. Restricts growth of the fetus.
3. May produce hyperactive children.
4. Coffee is linked to childhood leukemia
5.Coffee linked to childhood obesity.
Researchers have found that nursing women who consume 100mg of caffeine usually transfer about 2-4 micrograms of caffeine per 1ml of breastmilk. May not seem much but, a newborn baby up to 3 months old does not metabolize (process/breakdown) caffeine very well. This may build up in your baby's system over time. This isn't good for your baby's brain development as caffeine may hinder sleep.
It is recommended that intake starts at 50 mg of caffeine daily and the person may increase or decrease his consumption as he sees fit to heed off unwanted side effects of caffeine.
1.5 12fl. oz. Cokes
1.4 oz. brewed coffee
1.8 fl. oz. strong black tea
In the end, CAFFEINE should be treated as any other drug and should be used with caution. For those who have a pre-existing disease, children, are highly sensitive, and pregnant and nursing women, it is highly recommended that you limit or abstain from drinking coffee. For the rest of us, drink moderately. Too much of a good thing is bad for you.
*Credit to Sources:
Coffee: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information by Joseph Nordqvist (www.medicalnewstoday.com)
20+ Reasons to Drink Coffee (www.caffeineinformer.com)
Caffeine Safe Amounts (www.caffeineinformer.com)