Coffee drinkers can breathe a sigh of relief as they down their second or even third cup of coffee for the day: The latest coffee study shows no negative health effects accumulating over time.
Coffee’s caffeine delivers a jolt that speeds up the heart. That jolt increased blood pressure according to early studies. It also can raise
homocysteine levels, a marker of inflammation in the body, as well as total and LDL cholesterol levels. Other studies reported an increase in heart attacks and stroke in the hour after coffee was imbibed. This data, of course, led to the perception that coffee drinking is harmful. Based on this data, health care providers tend to recommend no more than low-to-moderate coffee drinking. The negative effects were largely attributed to the caffeine content of the coffee and some, hoping to avoid the negative effects, switched from regular to decaf.
Over time, however, the data on coffee become truly confusing: Some studies continued to show a link between coffee drinking and cardiovascular disease. Others showed no effect. Yet others actually showed a reduction in cardiovascular disease. To confuse matters further, coffee appeared to reduce the incidence of type-2 diabetes in studies from both the U.S. and Europe. Moreover, while coffee appeared to reduce the risk of liver, breast, and oral cancers, it seemed to increase the risk of pancreatic, bladder, ovarian and pancreatic cancer.
While this confusion has not yet been entirely resolved, a large European study took a new look at coffee drinking and chronic diseases. Some 42,000+ Europeans were followed over a 4-year period. They were divided into 5 groups, ranging from those drinking less than a cup a day to those drinking more than 5 cups a day, caffeinated or not. The end result: Drinking coffee did not correlate with chronic disease. Even 5 or more cups of coffee a day did not increase the incidence of cardiovascular disease, stroke, or cancer. Caffeinated coffee, as an isolated factor, actually was associated with a reduced incidence of diabetes. “Despite a general belief that coffee may be harmful, the current study found no association between coffee consumption and the risk of chronic disease.” Great news for those of us who are reluctant to give up our coffee.
Other interesting facts also were uncovered and worth noting:
* While coffee itself does not correlate with chronic disease, coffee drinkers tend not to have healthy lifestyles: Coffee drinkers are often smokers, and smoking correlates strongly with chronic disease risk. While coffee drinking seems to reduce the incidence of type-2 diabetes, this only holds true in nonsmoking coffee drinkers. Coffee drinkers also tend to drink more alcohol. . .
* An earlier Italian study found a link between those drinking decaf and heart attacks. This study found a similar link. They speculated that those who have high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease my choose to drink decaf as a “healthier choice.”
* As you might suspect, coffee likely is not helpful for those suffering from insomnia, anxiety, or acid reflux.
* The study was done in Europe where most coffee is prepared using filters that remove diterpene compounds from coffee. Thus, espresso and French press coffee may not be comparable or as good for you.
* Finns drink a lot of coffee: The most in the world at about 26.2 pounds per person compared to the U.S. with a paltry 9.5 pounds per.
* Lastly, part of the benefit of coffee may be that we tend to drink it in a relaxed, social setting that is good for us.
This study pretty much supports my view: There are bigger problems in our diet than our coffee habit: “Current information suggests that coffee is not as bad as we were told.”
Photo: Untitled by MipsyRetro
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