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Drink Coffee for a Healthier You

Aug 17, 2007
Looking for a way to lift your mood and treat headaches? To lower your risk of Parkinson's, diabetes, and colon cancer? One that could even lower your risk of cavities?

It's not too good to be true: coffee consumption appears to lower the risk for several diseases. And, what's even more exciting, the more you drink, the greater the health benefits.

I have what might be referred to as a healthy dependence on coffee, particularly in the morning. As a result, I am already aware that coffee is effective for stopping a morning headache and boosting my mood.

And, as the parent of a teen asthmatic, I've also seen first hand that coffee is helpful in managing asthma and even controlling attacks when medication is unavailable.

The interesting thing is, new research by Harvard demonstrates that consuming one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. What's more, having six cups or more each day slashed men's risk by 54% and women's by 30% over those who abstain from coffee.

Granted, that is more than most people normally consume. But it does hold out promise that greater research might what is responsible for such positive effects.

The really interesting thing here is that more and more studies are revealing that coffee, particularly in higher amounts, can have very positive effects on overall health. And while there may be some negatives to excessive drinking of coffee, overall, research shows that coffee is far more beneficial than it is harmful.

For example: recent research indicates that regular coffee drinkers are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's. What's more, several of those research programs were able to demonstrate that the more a person drinks, the lower their risk.

Another great example is that at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones, versus those who do not drink coffee.

So, what's causing these health benefits?

In all likelihood, it's the caffeine and the many naturally occurring antioxidants found in coffee beans. Interestingly, the overall potency of many of these anti-oxidants is increased during the roasting process.

Coffee is a significant source of caffeine, and the evidence is very strong that regular coffee consumption reduces risk of Parkinson's disease. The cause of that is directly related to caffeine. As a result, Parkinson's drugs are currently being developed which contain a derivative of caffeine.

Caffeine is also what helps in treating asthma and headaches. For example, a single dose of many popular pain relievers contains up to 120 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent to two cups of coffee.

Coffee also has large amounts of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and tocopherols, and minerals such as magnesium. These compounds have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. This increased sensitivity improves one's response to insulin.

The result is that a cup of decaf is also more effective than a cup of tea in reducing diabetes (though only half as much as those drinking caffeinated coffee).

Finally, research in Europe has shown that the compound trigonelline, which is responsible for coffee's aroma and bitter taste, demonstrates both antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties. Such properties have a direct effect on dental health, helping to prevent dental cavities from forming.

Of course, coffee isn't perfect. In some people, that magic "jolt" of caffeine can result in nervousness, hand trembling, and rapid heartbeat. Further, pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis may still be advised to limit or avoid coffee.

Nevertheless, the result is that, for people of reasonably normal health, coffee is a reasonably healthy choice and can have health benefits into the future.
About the Author
Michael Lee-Smith has been researching alternative health techniques for almost seven years. To learn more about the positive health outcomes of a healthy diet, visit http://www.personal-information.info/ .
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