Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Health Care and Coffee Drinking

How is your Java consumption? Are you a one, two, or three cup a day drinker? Or do you just keep a pot going with an IV attached all day? There are studies that can prove drinking coffee is good for you and some that say it’s not that healthy. What do YOU think?

According to HellaWella, coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, but is seemingly also one of the most maligned. However, after hundreds of years of consumption and decades of research, it seems the benefits of drinking coffee far outweigh the risks. However, unfiltered coffee — such as that prepared in a French press — proves an exception, as it can elevate cholesterol levels.

In multiple studies comparing people who drink three to five cups of coffee per day with those who drink zero to two cups per day, it has been found that those who drink more coffee are significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and have a reduced risk of developing dementia.

Moreover, drinking caffeinated coffee has been associated with a lower incidence of gallstones and gallbladder disease in both men and women. Similar to the results of the aforementioned Alzheimer’s studies, it has been found that heavy coffee drinkers — those consuming approximately 3.5 cups a day — are significantly less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease later in life, compared with nondrinkers.

Other health benefits of coffee include reducing one’s risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to half, reducing the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver, and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Generally, coffee contains a substantial amount of antioxidants.

As with any significant change in diet, you should talk to your doctor before increasing your coffee intake. And also be mindful of what time you are drinking your coffee, as the caffeine can have a negative impact on your sleep patterns, which will in turn have an effect on your overall health.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), often people think of coffee just as a vehicle for caffeine. But it’s actually a very complex beverage with hundreds and hundreds of different compounds in it. Since coffee contains so many different compounds, drinking coffee can lead to very diverse health outcomes. It can be good for some things and bad for some things, and that’s not necessarily flip-flopping or inconsistent.
 
Few foods are good for everything. That’s why studies are done on very specific health effects—for example, studies of how coffee affects the risk of diabetes—but studies are also conducted such as a recent one looking at coffee consumption and mortality over a long period of time, which better reflects the overall health effect.

Coffee is also a bit more complex to study than some other food items. Drinking coffee often goes along together with cigarette smoking, and with a lifestyle that’s not very health conscious. For example, people who drink lots of coffee tend to exercise less. They are less likely to use dietary supplements, and they tend to have a less healthful diet. So in the early studies on coffee and health, it was hard to separate the effects of coffee from the effects of smoking or other lifestyle choices.

Over the several decades that coffee has been studied, there have been some reports that coffee may increase the risk of certain cancers or the risk of heart disease. But in better conducted studies, such as the one we just published—larger studies that have a lot of information about all other lifestyle factors and make a real effort to control for these lifestyle factors—we do not find many of these health effects that people were afraid of.

HSPH also reports that if people are not used to using any caffeine, and they start to use caffeine, their blood pressure goes up substantially. Within a week of caffeine consumption, however, we see that the effect is less pronounced—there is less of an increase in blood pressure. After several weeks of continued caffeine consumption, however, a little bit of increase in blood pressure remains.

In studies that look at the incidence of hypertension in the general population, drinking caffeinated coffee is not associated with a substantial increase in risk. But if people have hypertension, and are having a hard time controlling their hypertension, they could try switching from caffeinated coffee to decaffeinated coffee, to see if it has a beneficial effect.

With diabetes, it’s a bit of a paradox. Studies around the world consistently show that high consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is associated with low risk of type 2 diabetes. But if you look at acute studies that just give people caffeine or caffeinated coffee, and then have them eat something rich in glucose, their sensitivity to insulin drops and their blood glucose levels are higher than expected.

There isn’t any long-term data on coffee consumption and glucose control. But if people have diabetes and have trouble controlling their blood glucose, it may be beneficial for them to try switching from caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee. Making the switch from caffeinated to decaf may be better than quitting coffee altogether, because some research suggests that decaffeinated coffee actually reduces the glucose response. Much more information on this topic can also be found at this website: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/coffee/ .

According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that coffee may have health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes (as noted by the Harvard information) and liver disease, including liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. However, the research appears to bear out some risks.

High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And some studies found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk. 

Although coffee may have fewer risks compared with benefits, keep in mind that other beverages, such as milk and some fruit juices, contain nutrients that coffee does not. Also, adding cream and sugar to your coffee adds more fat and calories. Some coffee drinks contain more than 500 calories. More details can be found at this site: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/coffee-and-health/faq-20058339 .

Coffee is actually very healthy, according to Authority Nutrition.  It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. For thirteen very good health reasons why you should drink coffee, visit this website: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/ . In fact, there are many advantages to being one of the 54 percent of Americans over 18 who drink coffee every day. Coffee can be pretty amazing for your brain, your skin, and your body. 

Until next time.

2 comments:

Albert Adam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Finn Felton said...

According to a study done in 2005, "nothing else comes close" to providing as many antioxidants as coffee. While fruits and vegetables also have tons of antioxidants, the human body seems to absorb the most from coffee.

Finn Felton
Kopi Luwak