Coffee Update–Once considered to be harmful, coffee research has exploded in recent years. New studies show improvements in a number of different areas of health and even suggest how much to consume for maximum benefit.
COFFEE PROTECTS YOUR HEART This is contrary to older thought, but Life Extension(1) discusses studies that show positive effects to your heart, blood vessels, and brain. To protect your heart, coffee works on the cells that form a lining in your heart and blood vessels–the endothelium. Coffee relaxes the vessels and has an anti-inflammatory effect. There is a 11% reduction of heart disease with 1.5 cups a day and a 15% reduction with 3.5 cups a day.
COFFEE REDUCES FAT AND DIABETES I always question how adding to your consumption can reduce fat, but there are now many studies behind this. A compound in coffee, chlorogenic acid, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that lowers your blood sugar and abdominal fat. This activates the immune system helping to prevent cancer as well. Your diabetic risk is reduced by 8, 15, 21, 25, 29, and 33% for consumption of 1 to 6 cups a day.
COFFEE PREVENTS SOME CANCERS Liver and kidney cancers are the most improved even if you already have hepatitis. Many Americans eat a fatty diet and like their alcohol which damages the liver. Coffee’s anti-oxidant enzymes deactivate cancer enzymes. It helps destroy renal cancer cells in your kidneys. Drinking 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, or 8 cups a day results in liver cancer reduction of 34, 56, 62, and 68%.
COFFEE PROTECTS YOUR BRAIN Age related cognitive decline leading to dementia is a concern for all of us. Caffeinated coffee elevates plasma levels which improves memory and may promote new brain cells. Two of the most common disorders of aging, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, can be reduced. Consuming 3 cups a day reduces your chance of Parkinson’s by 28%.
IN CONCLUSION Life Extension(1) notes coffee drinkers are at a lower risk of dying from all causes with caffeinated coffee having a slightly stronger effect. I’ve been a fan of green tea health benefits, but with this new research, it looks like coffee in the morning and green tea the rest of the day.
Keep in mind that how you drink your coffee matters too. A simple cup of brewed coffee has no fat and 5 calories. However, a large frappuccino has up to 580 calories which is equivalent to a meal. Some coffee drinks have up to 20 grams of fat. I understand that these are dessert drinks, but you don’t want to increase your fat intake accidentally. Using a little non-fat milk and the natural sweetener stevia is all you need to improve the taste. I personally recommend organic coffee to really enjoy the richness of flavor. Lee Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com
Huntington, J. New Health Benefits from Daily Coffee. Life Extension Magazine. July 2014, p48-57.