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Coffee is a pleasant morning ritual too painful to part with for many people. But is coffee good for your health or not? Similar to alcohol, the studies seem to seesaw back and forth. This month's Feature Article addresses the "good side" of that Cup of Joe.
This feature article is brought to you by Mimi Delores, the author of Stay Fabulous and Healthy.
Sweet, piping hot, black roasted coffee tastes great when served with blueberry muffins or salty bacon and eggs at 7 in the morning, but it also works as a great night cap after a long day at work. When mixed with cream, ice and flavourful syrup, coffee also becomes a great treat for those of us who had a bad day or as a reason to simply catch up with our friends.
Ask any coffee lover and they would swear coffee as one of the best pick-me-ups at any hour of the day. The good news is that, besides the caffeine content providing you with an energy boost, coffee has other interesting health benefits when used in moderate amounts.
Statistically, over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year, which is why coffee also happens to be the second most traded product in the world. In America alone, over 450 millions cups of Java are consumed on a daily basis, where the typical coffee drinker imbibes an average of three and a half cups a day. While it is already evident that the production and sales of coffee is healthy to any economy (especially in Brazil), what most health experts now are questioning is whether coffee is beneficial to one's body in the long run.
The Benefits of Drinking 3 Cups of Coffee (or more!)
According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, drinking coffee prior to reading can help you better spot grammar errors in subject-verb agreements and verb tenses because coffee is a great brain stimulator. This makes coffee a better energy drink to gulp down right before your next English test than one of the canned processed drinks.
A Harvard study has also shown that women who regularly drink coffee also have a 15% lower risk of experiencing depression. Interestingly enough, the study also suggested that women who drank more than four cups of coffee a day had an even lower probability of ever developing depression.
Caffeine is capable of modulating the release of positive mood transmitters. A similar study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that men would do well to have at least six cups of coffee everyday to lower their risk of developing prostate cancer by up to 60%. According to the results of the study, even a cup (or three) of café noir would be powerful enough to lower the risk of prostate cancer by 30%. Besides preventing prostate cancer, coffee is also believed to be able to prevent the formation of carcinoma, which is the basal cell that causes most common cancers.
Research in Progress
The benefits of drinking coffee has also been linked to the reduction of developing Type 2 diabetes, although researchers have warned that the research is still in its infancy stages, and has yet to pass randomized trials. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease has also suggested that coffee seems to have an interesting property capable of preventing Alzheimer's disease, although this remains debatable as the research was done on mice. The same journal also published another article praising coffee for lowering the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by 25%.
Does This Make Me Look Fat?
When taken black with no added sugar, creamer or milk, a cup of brewed coffee only has 2 calories, which means that gulping down several cups of Java will not contribute to an increased waistline. If you simply must have your cup of gourmet coffee complete with whipped cream and blended chocolate chips, do try to offset the high calorie intake by incorporating physical exercise into your daily routine. For instance, a cup of Starbucks Caramel Frappucino has 390 calories, which you could burn off by swimming, skiing, cycling, playing basketball, dancing or brisk walking for an hour.
For the rest of us who are happy enough nursing our humbly brewed coffee cups, sleep easy knowing that each sachet of 3-in-1 goodness only contains 4 calories whereas brewed coffee with added sugar and cream is worth a whopping 122 calories. A great substitute would be to exchange your coffee creamer for skim milk, which would then cut your calorie count down to 28 calories, even with added sugar.
Coffee Crashes and Other Effects
One of the biggest drawbacks to drinking too much coffee would be that you might have trouble falling asleep at night. Generally, you should avoid any form of caffeine drink (tea and soda water included!) at least eight hours before going to bed. This is especially true for people above the age of 40 who are much more prone to suffering from disrupted sleep due to a high caffeine intake.
And just in case you think that guzzling down coffee to help keep you awake throughout the night is a good idea, do note that just like everything else in life, too much of a good thing can have detrimental effects on you. Specifically, overdoing coffee can lead to an increase in your blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. Sadly, it is also clinically possible to become addicted to coffee, so do drink wisely. On the bright side though, most health care experts agree that coffee has more benefits than drawbacks.
Posted April 2012 | Permanent Link
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