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Coffee: The Good For You Brew
Coffee can keep you alert, may help you exercise with less pain and may delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease, gout, type 2 diabetes, and much, much more. This section will highlight results of scientific research on the health benefits of coffee. Check back often; content will be updated regularly with different health topics.
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants
One of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, coffee is a powerhouse of antioxidants. So while we enjoy our java, we’re also getting quite a bit of cancer-fighting weaponry.
Normally oxygen interacts with our body’s cells in an ongoing process that is necessary for the renewal of healthy cells to fight disease. But often the process goes wrong in a process called oxidation. In that case, a damaged cell, called a free radical, is created and attacks healthy cells. This can speed up the aging process, and harm DNA in a way that can trigger the start of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, stroke or even Alzheimer’s disease.
Luckily, antioxidants – substances in a wide range of foods and drinks made from certain plants – can come to the rescue. They neutralize the free radicals, and this process helps to prevent some of the damage they might cause. While you may have heard that antioxidants are found in pomegranates, blueberries, broccoli and green tea – and indeed they are – we now know that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants consumed in the United States.
Research says those antioxidants may reduce heart failure risk
A recently published paper by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that moderate coffee consumption (about four cups a day) is associated with a reduced risk of heart failure. This study supports the current thinking that drinking coffee may actually be good for your heart. The American Heart Association, which used to warn that consuming coffee might be detrimental to heart health, has recently published a paper in its journal Circulation Heart Failure, suggesting that regular, moderate coffee consumption may lead to a significant reduction in a person’s risk of heart failure. A 10-year study, of more than 32,000 middle-older aged women in Sweden, showed that those who ingested antioxidants in the form of fruits, vegetables, coffee and whole grains were less likely to have a heart attack.
These data support a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and AARP, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which revealed an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality risk. (Men who drank four to five cups of coffee or more daily had a 12% lower risk, while women had a 16% lower risk.) The study showed that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from heart or respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections.
Here are the abstracts detailing the studies:
Green coffee extract may help control blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, according to researcher
April 9, 2013 – A leading researcher who studies antioxidants in foods told scientists meeting in New Orleans today that substances found in green coffee may control the elevated blood sugar levels found in type 2 diabetes. Joe Vinson, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, spoke at a meeting of Read more
Habitual coffee consumption and risk of heart failure: a dose-response meta-analysis
Background: There have been discrepant findings on the association between coffee consumption and risk of incident heart failure. Methods and Results: We conducted a systematic review and a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies that assessed the relationship between habitual coffee consumption and the risk of heart failure. We searched electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cinahl) Read more
Total antioxidant capacity from diet and risk of myocardial infarction: a prospective cohort of women
Background: There are no previous studies investigating the effect of all dietary antioxidants in relation to myocardial infarction. The total antioxidant capacity of diet takes into account all antioxidants and synergistic effects between them. The aim of this study was to examine how total antioxidant capacity of diet and antioxidant-containing foods were associated with incident myocardial Read more
Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality
Background: Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages, but the association between coffee consumption and the risk of death remains unclear. Methods: We examined the association of coffee drinking with subsequent total and cause specific mortality among 229,119 men and 173,141 women in the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study who Read more
Scientists say that coffee’s antioxidants may reduce liver disease and cancer
Researchers evaluated the role of coffee’s antioxidants in protecting the body against liver cancer and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In one study, they found that a high consumption of coffee seemed to have a protective effect against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; in the other study drinking more coffee seemed to protect against liver cancer.
Here are the abstracts:
Effect of coffee and green tea consumption on the risk of liver cancer: cohort analysis by hepatitis virus infection status
In spite of their anticarcinogenic potential, the effect of coffee and green tea consumption on the risk of liver cancer has not been clarified prospectively in consideration of hepatitis C (HCV) and B virus (HBV) infection. We examined whether coffee and green tea consumption was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer by hepatitis Read more
High coffee intake is associated with lower grade nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: the role of peripheral antioxidant activity
Background and aims. Some phytochemicals present in coffee have a potential antioxidant role which seems to protect the human body against cardiovascular diseases, liver disease and malignancies. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a common disease with limited therapeutic options. This study investigated the antioxidant effect of coffee by measuring antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxidation markers Read more
Can coffee also protect us against the risk of developing esophageal cancer?
We know that coffee offers protection against a number of diseases. How does drinking coffee stack up against drinking green or black tea? Scientists decided to find out by reviewing 7376 cases of esophageal cancer in the international medical literature. They looked for whether the patients had consumed green tea, black tea, or coffee prior to becoming ill. The recently published results of their extensive review show that although black tea doesn't seem to be protective against cancer of the esophagus, both green tea and coffee apparently are. These results are intriguing, and more studies are necessary to explore the connection between coffee and esophageal cancer.
Here is the abstract:
Effects of green tea, black tea, and coffee consumption on the risk of esophageal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies
Epidemiological studies regarding the associations of tea and coffee consumption with esophageal cancer (EC) risk are still inconsistent and this meta-analysis was conducted to examine these associations. PubMed, ISI-Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Chinese VIP database up to October 2011 were searched and manual search for reference lists of relevant studies Read more
Coffee may play a role in your anti-aging routine along with good dietary and exercise habits.
We know that a diet that’s low in saturated fat and most animal products, and rich in plant-based foods, can help us stay healthy as we grow older. The fruits and vegetables that we should include in our diets contain polyphenols and other antioxidants, which can actually keep the body’s cells from rapid decay (oxidation). Coffee, which comes from a berry, also contains antioxidants; it’s a rich source of polyphenols and caffeine. Those are some of the ingredients which led researchers to explore whether coffee can protect the aging brain as well as against certain diseases. According to a study that was just published, quite a few of the thousands of chemical compounds in coffee do just that. And interestingly, it’s not the caffeine, but the coffee itself that seems to do this.
Here is the abstract:
Coffee, but not caffeine, has positive effects on cognition and psychomotor behavior in aging
The complex mixture of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables provides protective health benefits, mainly through additive and/or synergistic effects. The presence of several bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols and caffeine, implicates coffee as a potential nutritional therapeutic in aging. Moderate (three to five cups a day) coffee consumption in humans is associated with a significant Read more
Coffee can delay or reduce dementia, according to new research
These studies found that coffee delays or reduces the onset of dementia, even when the subject already has mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Here are the abstracts:
Midlife coffee and tea drinking and the risk of late-life dementia: a population-based CAIDE study
Caffeine stimulates central nervous system on a short term. However, the long-term impact of caffeine on cognition remains unclear. We aimed to study the association between coffee and/or tea consumption at midlife and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk in late-life. Participants of the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study were randomly selected from the Read more
High blood caffeine levels in MCI linked to lack of progression to dementia
Although both human epidemiologic and animal model studies have suggested that caffeine/coffee protects against Alzheimer’s disease, direct human evidence for this premise has been lacking. In the present case-control study, two separate cohorts consisting of 124 total individuals (65-88 years old) were cognitively assessed and a blood sample taken for caffeine/biomarker analysis. Subjects were then Read more
Studies show that coffee can delay or reduce type 2 diabetes
By now, most of us are pretty familiar with the fact that coffee has a beneficial effect on type 2 diabetes mellitus, a disease marked by glucose intolerance.
Here are the abstracts:
Coffee consumption, serum γ-glutamyltransferase, and glucose tolerance status in middle-aged Japanese men
Researchers recently undertook a study to see how coffee affects that precursor of diabetes. They investigated 5320 men aged 46-60 years who drank from less than 1 cup to more than 5 cups of coffee a day. They found that the more coffee the subjects drank, the less glucose intolerance they had. Abstract Background: Recently, Read more
Coffee to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes?: A systematic review
Type 2 DM is associated with high rates of morbidity and premature mortality. Various potential health effects of coffee have been extensively studied, but data on habitual coffee consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus have only recently been published. We systematically reviewed cohort studies (identified after searching through MEDLINE) from the period Read more
A number of studies published over the past several years have shown that drinking coffee may offer protection against developing Parkinson’s disease. In fact, the more coffee you drink, the more protective its effect seems to be. Now, in a new study, scientists in the Parkinson Study Group have found that people who have Parkinson’s disease and who drank at least 12 ounces of coffee a day had fewer tremors, and less stiffness and other movement symptoms than subjects who consumed less than that. The more coffee they drank, the less pronounced their symptoms became. The researchers in this investigation believe that their results came from the caffeine in the coffee; they suggest that more studies like this are needed.
Here is the abstract:
Caffeine consumption and risk of dyskinesia in CALM-PD
Background: Adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonists reduce or prevent the development of dyskinesia in animal models of levodopa-induced dyskinesia. METHODS: We examined the association between self-reported intake of the A(2A) receptor antagonist caffeine and time to dyskinesia in the Comparison of the Agonist Pramipexole with Levodopa on Motor Complications of Parkinson’s Disease (CALM-PD) and CALM Cohort Read more
Chronic Hepatitis C
There have been a number of studies published showing how coffee offers protection against some liver diseases or “injured liver.” Recent research also showed that coffee helps people with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which is associated with obesity and diabetes. In fact, about 25% of Americans have fatty liver disease. Now scientists have published results of recent research on why coffee has a beneficial effect in reducing the risk of developing liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) in patients with chronic hepatitis C. The mechanisms involve the effect that the antioxidants in coffee has on actual cells.
Here is the abstract:
Effects of coffee consumption in chronic hepatitis C: A randomized controlled trial
Background: Coffee is associated with a reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with chronic C hepatitis. This prospective trial was aimed at assessing the mechanisms underlying coffee-related protective effects. Methods: Forty patients with chronic hepatitis C were randomized into two groups: the first consumed 4 cups of coffee/day for 30 days, while the second Read more