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A cup of java for my health…Really !?

Enjoying a healthy cup of Java

Enjoying a healthy cup of Java

 

Hi Folks,

My friends and I recently discussed what we enjoy drinking.

Most agreed on Green tea, while several of us also drink coffee as well.

For those who do drink a cup of joe here’s some good news…

Coffee is the second most popular drink in the world, trailing only water (and debatably, tea). As you all know, caffeine is a key component of coffee and is a compound of great debate.  It is the world’s most consumed psychoactive drug, with 90% of North American adults consuming caffeine daily. However, is this such a bad thing?

Many health advocates would try to convince you to give up coffee and possibly even caffeine altogether. However new research has certainly raised the question, should we actually give up our beloved Cup o’ Joe?

Does Metabolism Matter?

There is a lot of conflicting research on coffee consumption, and it seems to be because people have different clearance rates for caffeine. On one hand, you have the “slow” metabolizers of caffeine: people who are adversely affected by caffeine, get the jitters, and are wired for up to nine hours. Then, there are those who simply have an increase in energy and alertness that wears off within a few hours; they are considered “fast” metabolizers of caffeine.

This seems to be a defining difference in whether or not coffee will help you or hurt you, as those who are slow metabolizers may be at an increased risk for a non-fatal heart attack, while the fast metabolizers may not.

Why Coffee Rules

Coffee has more antioxidants than dark chocolate or tea, and may make up as much as 50-70% of the total antioxidant intake for the average American!

A recent study found that men who drank the most coffee (6 or more cups per day) were nearly 60% less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than non-coffee drinkers.

In fact, at least six studies have found that regular coffee drinkers have up to an 80% decreased risk for developing Parkinson’s.

In addition, other research has shown that when compared to non-coffee drinkers, people who regularly consume two or more cups per day may have a 25% decreased risk of colon cancer, up to an 80% decreased risk for cirrhosis, a 35% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, and up to a 50% decreased risk for gallstones!

In terms of the gallbladder protection, it was only seen in people who drank caffeinated coffee.  So, if you drink decaf, it’s not doing much for the gallbladder.

The final verdict on coffee and cancer is that coffee consumption is associated with a lower overall risk of cancer.  Period.  Specifically, coffee consumption has shown to be associated with a lower risk or oral, esophageal, pharyngeal, breast (in post-menopausal women), liver, colon, and aggressive prostate cancer.  Sounds good to me!

Beyond the health benefits, there are many noted mental and physical performance benefits as well. Caffeine has been shown to reduce the rate of perceived exertion, so it doesn’t feel like you are working as hard as you really are.  In addition, people who regularly drink coffee have been found to have better performance on tests of reaction time, verbal memory, and visuo-spatial reasoning.

Taking it a step further, another study found that elderly women over the age of 80 performed significantly better on tests of cognitive function if they had regularly consumed coffee over the course of their lifetimes.

In addition, many people think of coffee as increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the reality is that coffee consumption has been found to moderately reduce the risk of dying from CVD.  Another study, done inJapan, followed 77,000 individuals between the ages of 40 and 79. Researchers found that caffeine and coffee consumption were also associated with a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

One other coffee/caffeine myth is the idea of dehydration. It is widely believed that caffeine-containing beverages like coffee and tea cause the body to expel more fluid than they provide, but does the research actually back this up?

Nope.

A recent review of 10 studies found that consuming up to 550mg of caffeine per day does not cause fluid-electrolyte imbalances in athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Another review the following year found that consuming caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle does not lead to fluid loss in excess of the volume of fluid ingested, nor is it associated with poor hydration status. Myth busted.

Here’s to living Boundrylessly while enjoying that cup of java too !!

Enjoy healthy coffee Your Way !

Enjoy healthy coffee Your Way !


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