HEALTH BENEFITS OF COFFEE (Part2)

COFFEE AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

Did you know that drinking moderate amount of coffee every day can actually be good for your heart? A number of studies have shown that drinking coffee every day is safe for the heart. In fact, it diminishes the risk of heart diseases! And what if you experience certain side effects? Well, for most individuals a daily cup of coffee should be a part of their healthy diet and lifestyle; however, for those who experience side effects, decaffeinated coffee is a great option to consider.

Here are the specific benefits of coffee on various parameters linked to cardiovascular health:

Blood pressure: Research proves that consuming coffee – as much as six cups of coffee per day – does not elevate a person’s blood pressure level.

Blood sugar: Did you know that the antioxidants in coffee (decaf as well as caffeinated) help in controlling your blood sugar level and also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. To begin with, start with a small dose of coffee each day and go up to six cups to achieve optimum benefits.

Cholesterol: Now, you have heard about diterpenes, correct? Yes, coffee contains cholesterol-elevatingcompounds called diterpenes, but the concentration of this compound depends on how the coffee is prepared. Boiled coffee has a higher concentration of this compound and this can elevate the total cholesterol level in your blood. To minimize this risk, you can consume filtered coffee which does not pose any risk to the blood cholesterol levels.

Risk for irregular heartbeat: Some people worry that caffeine intake may elevate the risk of irregular heartbeat, also called arrhythmia. Research however proves that drinking coffee does not impact arrhythmia. In reality, daily consumption of coffee may actually reduce the risk of arrhythmia.

Cardiovascular risk: It has been proven that moderate consumption of coffee can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Around 1-2 cups a day is advisable.

Risk of death: It has been proven that moderate consumption of coffee diminishes the risk of death from heart attacks and other diseases too!

Do you find this reassuring? Well, most coffee drinkers love the fact that this drink prevents their heart health.

COFFEE AND GASTROINTESTINAL HEALTH

Well, coffee can be actually good for digestion. We have looked at a number of myths regarding the impact of coffee on digestion. Did you know that consuming moderate amounts of coffee can relieve constipation along with minimizes the absorption of sugar? So, if you ever feel a little backed up, you can find solace in coffee. It can serve as your best friend. The caffeine in coffee contracts the muscles along your intestinal tract. This is called peristalsis.

Now as your muscles contract, your food and waste move through. Every single muscle contraction facilitates the movement of waste and food. This implies that as the number of muscle contractions increase, everything moves faster. This leads to a laxative effect. Studies have proved that consumption of coffee increases the levels of Bifidobacterium in your gut. Bifidobacterium is the healthy flora that helps in digestion.

Are you struggling to manage your blood sugar levels? Well, here is some good news! The chlorogenic acid in coffee, which is also a powerful antioxidant, is responsible for partially blocking the absorption of glucose. This can aid in stabilizing the glucose and insulin levels in diabetics.

And if you are still apprehensive about drinking coffee, here are a few scientific facts:

Research proves that there is no linkage between consumption of coffee and the risk of gastro esophageal reflux disease, dyspepsia, gastritis, peptic ulcers or stomach cancer. There is evidence to prove that consuming moderate amounts of coffee does not worsen symptoms in individuals who are already suffering from these conditions.

Studies suggest that drinking coffee does not enhance the risk of duodenal ulcers and has no impact on the fluid balance in the small intestine. Concrete scientific evidence is available to prove that there is absolutely no connection between consumption of coffee and disorders of the large intestine, such as diarrhea and colorectal cancer. No association has been found between coffee consumption and conditions of the intestine such as ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis or Crohn’s Disease.

Research also suggests that moderate consumption of coffee also minimizes the risk of gall bladder disease and liver cancer. It also limits the progression of liver diseases. A Japanese study found that people who drank coffee reduced their risk of hepatocellular carcinoma by half.

COFFEE AND NEURODEGENERATIVE DISORDERS

Research suggests that regular consumption of moderate amounts of coffee can slow down age related cognitive decline. Studies also suggest that moderate amount of coffee consumed every day can minimize the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Theanti-oxidants and the anti-inflammatoryagents in coffee possess neuro- protective properties. Studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee is known to diminish or delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

Coffee is said to stimulate the cognitive performance in the elderly along with slowing down age related cognitive decline. Research has been conducted to understand the impact of coffee on stroke

– the results seem to be positive in this case and it has been proven that moderate consumption of coffee does diminish the impact of stroke.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. You could however do several things that can prevent the disease from showing up. These could include incorporating healthy lifestyle and eating habits and yes – don’t forget that cup of coffee!!

COFFEE AND CANCER

Studies suggest that coffee consumption minimizes the risk of developing cancer at a number of body sites. These include the oral cavity or the pharynx, endometrium, liver, colon, rectum and brain. Current scientific evidence also suggests that moderate consumption of coffee does not elevate the risk of cancer in the body. It has been proven that consuming coffee in moderate amounts does not increase the risk of esophageal, pancreatic, stomach, prostate, kidney, skin, breast or ovarian cancer.

 Some studies do hint at a possible association between consumption of coffee and risk of bladder and lung cancer. However, in both cases, there are other potential confounding factors such as alcohol consumption or smoking. Therefore, more research is needed to substantiate the negative impact of coffee.

COFFEE AND MENTAL PERFORMANCE

There is definite evidence that moderate caffeine intake aids in improvement of concentration and alertness. But then do you get addicted to coffee? Can we term it as a drug of dependence? Absolutely not!

A number of brain mapping tests have been performed and the results indicate that intake of caffeine is not connected to the brain circuit of dependence and hence, this does not meet the criteria that can describe it as a drug of dependence. A number of individuals do experience withdrawal symptoms on abrupt cessation. However, these are not really severe, and do not last long. These can be avoided by gradually decreasing the intake of caffeine.

Some studies also suggest that abstinence from caffeine improves sleep – this is in context of the time duration it takes one to fall asleep and also the quality of sleep. However, discrepancies and differences exist amongst viewpoints and more research is required in this field.

A number of people use coffee as their best friend in situation where they need to demonstrate an enhanced level of mental alertness e.g. long distance driving, night shifts and jet lag.

1-2 cups of caffeinated coffee proves effective in combating driver fatigue. In fact, this is as effective as a thirty minute nap. It can be said that a 75mg serving of caffeine ( equivalent to the amount found in approximately one regular cup of coffee) leads to enhanced attention and alertness.

A number of studies have been conducted to demonstrate the impact of caffeine intake on visual attention. The results not only prove that coffee elevates visual attention, but also lay emphasis on an increase in psychomotor speed. Moderate intake of coffee also demonstrates a positive impact on the reaction time of an individual.

The caffeine in coffee also improves safety and alertness in individuals who suffer from sleep deprivation. Consumption of coffee has been linked to improved memory too. Another astonishing finding is that this improvement in memory only happens in extroverts. There is absolutely no difference in the memory of introverts if they consume caffeine in moderate amounts consistently.

Feeling depressed? No problem! You could simply grab a

cup of cappuccino and wonder how your depression melts away. Low to moderate doses of caffeine (this could be up to four cups of coffee per day) have been shown to enhance ratings of happiness and diminish levels of anxiety.

However, high doses can enhance nervousness, anxiety and jitteriness. It is also worth a mention that older adults are normally more sensitive to the mood-elevating effects of caffeine. These effects are also based on the time of day – in fact; the most significant effects are usually noticed late morning.

An individual’s mood is also impacted by the expectation of caffeine consumption. The belief of having consumed caffeine leads to an elevation in alertness and mood.

The best benefits can be noticed in individuals who do not normally consume coffee. So, if you do not consume coffee and suffer from anxiety, depression, nervousness or mood swings – resorting to a daily cup would work wonders!

The findings of another study suggested that caffeine consumers resort to social support in order to relieve their symptoms of depression. They send messages related to their sadness to their friends and relatives, indirectly seeking support.

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