THE GOOD COFFEE
It seems that you hear a lot from “experts” about how drinking coffee is not all that good for you. It’s probably a bit of propaganda that is spread around, and around again, by the Corporate Giants that promote those disgusting sweet soft drinks.
They might be a sugar junkies delight but I have always preferred the more traditional beverages of tea and (of course) coffee. Who can resist the aroma of freshly ground or freshly brewed coffee? Now the is an addiction I don’t mind being labelled a junkie for!
But more and more there is evidence that coffee (and tea) have a lot of benefits to your health and vitality.
Recently I found another great article in a weekend newspaper lift-out called “Body and Soul”. It is a great weekly accumulation of interesting snippets from around the World, related to health and well-being. It is my favorite read every Sunday.
So here is what “Body and Soul” researchers have found out about drinking coffee. This was in the July 5, 2015 edition and this article was written by Dilvin Yasa.
The forward to the article had a small window with the following information ……..
DID YOU KNOW?
Drinking 2-3 coffees daily can improve erectile dysfunction in men, according to a recent US study. The researchers say caffeine triggers a series of pharmacological effects that relax arteries and muscles, increasing blood flow to the area.
and then we get into the interesting and very up to date facts …….
WHY COFFEE IS NOW GOOD FOR YOU
It’s previously been considered detrimental to your health but emerging studies are showing that your three-cup-a-day habit might actually be doing you a favor.
A Harvard paper published last year made waves around the world when it announced that those who increased their coffee intake by more than one cup a day decreased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while those who reduced their intake increased their risk by 17 per cent.
The study came as welcome news for coffee drinkers, as did the recent US report titled “2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, which suggested that coffee may actually now be OK to include as part of a healthy diet.
The positive research surrounding coffee has been building for some time. A 2007 meta-analysis found that increasing coffee consumption by two cups a day decreases the risk of liver cancer by a whopping 43 per cent, and another meta-analysis in 2009 showed high coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of lung cancer – but only in non-smokers. And a study published this year found links between drinking four cups a day and reduced melanoma risk.
It’s also been linked with improved heart and brain health. A large-scale South Korean study of 25,000 people showed that drinking three to five cups of the good stuff every day was associated with a decreased risk for coronary artery calcium, a predictor of future heart disease.
Meanwhile, a recent study from Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam found drinking three to five cups over a lifetime slashed the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This backed up a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease which showed a 65-70 per cent decreased risk of dementia and a 62-64 per cent decreased risk of Alzheimer’s in people who had three to five coffees a day compared to those who only consumed two or less.
FROM DIET DEMON TO HEALTHY BEAN!
These are just a few key studies; there are plenty of others that link a regular coffee habit to decreased risk of everything from stroke to Parkinson’s disease.
WHY THE TURNAROUND?
Just how did coffee go from diet’s super-villain to superhero in just a few years? After all, it wasn’t that long ago that studies were linking coffee with higher mortality rates.
Earlier studies were flawed in that they didn’t always factor out serious health behaviors that tend to go along with drinking coffee, such as smoking or a sedentary lifestyle. Dr. Rob van Dam, associate professor in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, says.
“Heavy coffee drinkers are, as a group, generally less health-conscious and previously it was difficult to disentangle the health effects of coffee drinking from other behaviors associated with coffee drinking”, he says.
“Epidemiological studies have made substantial progress with larger sample sizes, longer follow-up for diseases and more comprehensive measurements of risk factors”.
Not only have these more recent studies challenged our previous beliefs that coffee consumption causes a higher risk of heart disease, stroke or cancers, but today’s researchers are more aware that coffee might actually have some substantial health benefits.
“We’ve since discovered coffee is a complex beverage with hundreds of plant compounds that could have beneficial health effects, and have thus started to examine this habit in relation to a greater variety of health outcomes,” van Dam says.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Feeling the urge to get on board the coffee train or up your daily intake? Don’t be so hasty, van Dam says. “The evidence isn’t strong enough for large health benefits to start drinking coffee if you don’t like it as there are other health behaviors you should prioritize.
Accredited practicing dietician Simone Austin agrees. “Just like you wouldn’t take up drinking wine for the antioxidant intake, you wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – increase the amount of coffee you drink, because there are still some negative side effects which could affect you.”
Indeed, high levels of caffeine have been shown to reduce your body’s absorption of a number of vitamins and minerals, particularly iron and calcium. In addition, coffee has also been linked to a number of health problems including anxiety, insomnia and peptic ulcers.
Certain types of coffee such as Turkish coffee contain cafestol, a substance that’s been known to be dangerous for those with high serum cholesterol levels, and it’s also best to rethink your drinking habits if you’re pregnant, van Dam says. “High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been linked to reduced foetal growth and a higher risk of miscarriage”.
The message here is to carry on drinking as you always have – not for your health, but because you enjoy it – and at the same time to know your own limits.
“How much caffeine you can handle is a purely individual thing, but we recommend a maximum of 300-400mg a day, which is four to five cups of instant black coffee (equivalent to roughly three shots of espresso).” Austin says, adding that it’s not just about the amount you’re drinking but also the way that you’re drinking it.
“When you have your next coffee, think about where you have it, do you have a biscuit with every cup, how much sugar are you using?” she adds. “You may find that your bad habits are outweighing any good that the coffee may be doing you in the first place.”