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Coffee and health

by April Tashiro, A & E editor

   

Is drinking a cup of coffee in the morning your daily routine? Do you handle the night before final exams with shots of espresso? Is a coffee-based dessert drink with a lot of whip cream your favorite? Coffee is an everyday drink for many people today, and its popularity continues to soar. However, little is known of the relationship between drinking coffee and health. Is it good or bad for you?

 

Coffee’s best-known substance is, of course, caffeine. As many people know and have experienced, it combats fatigue and increases awareness. As far as negative effects of caffeine are concerned, many studies conclude that a moderate amount, three to four cups of coffee, should not be a health problem.

According to the Coffee Science Centre (http://www.cosic.org/), a moderate amount of caffeine is not habitual, meaning that it does not affect the areas of reward, motivation, and addiction in the brain. However, some people who are sensitive to caffeine may experience caffeine withdrawal if they suddenly decrease their consumption dramatically. The symptoms of the withdrawal include headache and lethargy, and they can last a few days. However, the effects of caffeine withdrawal are not prolonged.

Pregnant women and post-menopausal women should be more aware of caffeine intake than usual, and their consumption should not exceed a moderate amount. According to the EU Scientific Committee, 300mg of caffeine per day, which is the quantity of caffeine in three to four cups of coffee, is safe for pregnant women.

Osteoporosis, a degenerative bone condition, is a common health problem among post-menopausal women. Many studies have been done to determine whether drinking coffee can contribute to low bone density, and the results vary. Osteoporosis can be caused by many factors, such as estrogen deficiency, smoking, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition, but many studies have claimed that drinking coffee is not a significant factor. If women maintain a healthy balanced diet and a moderate caffeine consumption the risk of getting osteoporosis decreases.

A number of studies indicate that drinking coffee can actually be beneficial to health by helping to prevent some major diseases, such as kidney stones, gallstone disease, and even cancer.

In order to avoid kidney stones, sufficient water intake is important, and coffee, which is a diuretic, can help too. One study involved 45,000 men, and found that greater intakes of regular and decaffeinated coffee decreased the risk of kidney stone formation. Another study, which involved 81,000 women, found that an eight-ounce serving of regular coffee decreased their risk by 10 percent, and decaffeinated coffee decreased it by nine percent.

Coffee also can lower the risk of gallstone disease in men, one study reported. During 10 years of research, men who took two to three cups of coffee per day had 40 percent less risk of gallstone disease than those who did not. The researchers concluded that this could be due to the metabolic effects that coffee has, which derive from caffeine. Other drinks with low or no caffeine did not lower the risk.

In addition, according to an article in Rocky Mountain News, last year the AMC Cancer Research Center at Denver, Colo. developed a new roasting method that does not destroy the cancer-fighting anti-oxidant in green java beans.

This was not possible in other conventional roasting methods. This anti oxidant compound is called polophenol. The AMC said it can prevent tumor growth and work against cardiovascular disease, immune system dysfunction, and inflammatory diseases.

As the research continues, coffee appears to be much more than a jolt of caffeine. Even though studies on the relationship of coffee and health are not yet conclusive, coffee’s original aroma and taste refresh busy office workers and students alike everyday.

 

 

 

 

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