Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coffee The Magical Elixir (Part 1)

Check out this post in the new blog

Coffee smells like freshly ground heaven.
~Jessi Lane Adams

What do you feel when you smell fresh grounded coffee? Whenever I smell coffee my mouth is watering, do you feel the same? Is caffeine really addictive? Does caffeine deserve the bad reputation?
Having coffee with a friend or a family member,  is a something I love to do. To me it means, we trust each other & it's a great way for socializing. Do you agree? I bet you do! So I think it’s important to talk about the Pros & Cons  of Coffee & Caffeine . As there are many issues to cover, this post will be in two parts.

Throughout the year 2012, a lot of studies showed up with promising results for coffee drinkers. Should you add coffee to your diet? How many cups/day? Is Caffeine really addictive? Is decaffeinated coffee a healthier option?

Is a plant-based alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug.It's found in large quantities in coffee beans. Other sources of Caffeine are soft drinks, energy drinks, cocoa, tea, pain relievers & cold medications. 

Rich Source of Antioxidants
Coffee has antioxidants (substances inhibit oxidation that has a known role in fighting diseases by damaging free radicals), in the form of polyphenols. It's content is much higher than in green tea or other herbal drinks. Every food that is not processed has some content of antioxidants, but a high content of antioxidants in the food, does not mean you will have a high level in your body.

Coffee and Diseases

Many studies claim that coffee can lower risk of some degenerative diseases. Most of these studies suggest drinking four cups of coffee (standard cup is 6 oz. =100 mg of Caffeine) in one day.

Many studies show that drinking four cups of caffeinated coffee can lower the risk of many cancer types like oral, skin, prostate, pancreas, and colon cancer. I won’t point to specific studies because the overall results are inconclusive.
Heart diseases
In the past it was commonly believed that consuming coffee increases the risk of heart diseases.  Animal studies have shown that drinking coffee is associated with acutely raised blood pressure. In June 2012 researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston did an analysis for five studies include more than 140,000 people and the follow up time was from five to thirty eight years; this study show that tow cups of coffee reduced the risk of heart disease by 11%. Although some studies have shown that coffee elevated blood pressure shortly after consuming it. the rise is a short lived one and does not last more than several hours and its very similar to climbing a set of stairs.

Diabetes type 2
Some studies show that Caffeine may raise blood glucose after consumption but, it turns out that the change is very subtle and it has no significant role in healthy adults. A study done by the UCLA School of Public Health they found that women who drink up to 4 cup/day of caffeinated coffee have higher level of a sex hormone binding globulin (SGBH), and this hormone is thought to play role in development of diabetes type 2.

 A study published in the Stroke (Journal of American Heart Association)discovered women who drink more than one cup of coffee have a 25% lower risk of stroke than women who don't drink coffee. If you want to read more about this study, go to the American Heart Association 
According to REUTERS in a small 6-weeks  Canadian study on patients who suffer from Parkinson disease over 6 weeks, the researchers found that the patients who took 200 mg of Caffeine pills over 3 weeks then bumped to 200 mg twice a day for the rest of the study, showed an average improvement in movement problems in comparison with  patients who took placebo pills.

According to Medical Daily   publication, the University of South Florida's College of Pharmacy, indicated that % percent of coffee drinkers with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) did not develop Alzheimer's during the four year follow-up period of the study. The study was published in The Journal of Alzheimer

At a high intake of coffee (more than 744 mg/day)  Caffeine may increase the excretion of calcium and magnesium in the urine. If you consume good amounts of calcium every day, coffee may not increase the risk of bone loss. Older adult, especially women, can be more sensitive to Caffeine effects on calcium metabolism, so if you are in this category, you should consult your doctor.
A study done by Harvard University on women who were not depressed,showed that these women who drink up to four cups of coffee per day, are less likely to suffer from depression in their lives. But the study doesn't prove the reduced risk but it suggests that caffeine has a protective effect.  

Unfortunately, a lot of studies are for short term period and not really conclusive, it’s more of association rather than causation (cause and effect). We need more long term studies on caffeine and coffee, before health advocates can advise people to increase their intake of coffee.

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