Health Benefits of Coffee

by Chris Weaver - Date: 2007-01-26 - Word Count: 929 Share This!

If you are looking for a drug that will lower your risk of developing diabetes, Parkinson's disease and colon cancer, than continue reading this article. If you are looking for a drug that could lift your mood and help headaches, keep reading this article. If you are looking for a drug that could protect against cavities, keep on reading.

The good news is, this drug is easily accessible and is legal! It is coffee! Yes coffee, the much maligned and beloved beverage. Coffee recently made headlines across North America for possibly cutting the risk of the latest disease epidemic, type 2 diabetes. The real news seems to be that the more you drink, the better it is for you!

Reduces Disease Risk Harvard researchers studied 126,000 people for as long as 18 years. The researchers calculate that compared to not drinking coffee, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But if you drink six cups or more each day, the risk for men is slashed by 54% and for women it is cut by 30% over java avoiders.

Although scientists advise that "more research is needed" before they can recommend you do overtime at Starbucks to avoid developing diabetes, the finding are very similar to those in a less- publicized study by Dutch scientists And perhaps more importantly it's the latest of hundreds of studies suggesting that coffee may be something of a health food- especially in high amounts.

There have been some 19.000 studies in recent decades examining coffee's impact on heath.

Thomas DePaulis, PHD, a research scientist at Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies says, "Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful." The institute conducts its own research and tracks coffee studies from around the world. "For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good."

Consider this: At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk. Other research shows that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones.

Drinking coffee regularly even offsets some of the damage causes by other vices, some research indicates. "People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don't," says DePaulis.

Some evidence also suggests that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication if unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood and even help prevent cavities.

What causes the coffee to benefit your health? Is it the caffeine in the coffee? The oodles of antioxidants in coffee beans, some of which become especially potent during the roasting process? Even the mysterious properties that warrant this intensive study?

The answer is yes to all of these.

Some of the health benefits of coffee are a direct result of its higher caffeine content: An eight ounce cup of drip brewed coffee contains about 85 mg-about three and half times more than the same serving of tea or cola or one ounce of chocolate.

DePaulis recently said that the evidence is very strong that regular coffee consumption reduces risk of Parkinson's disease and for that; it's directly related to the caffeine in coffee. In fact, Parkinson's drugs that are now being developed contain a derivative of caffeine based on this evidence.

Coffee is a Performance Enhancer It's also caffeine-and not coffee, per se-that makes java a powerful aid in enhancing athletic endurance and performance, says physiologist and longtime coffee researcher Terry Graham, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada. So powerful, that until recently, caffeine in coffee or other forms was deemed a "controlled" substance by the Olympic Games Committee, meaning that I could only in small, designated amounts by competing athletes.

"What caffeine likely does is stimulate the brain and nervous system to do things differently," he says. "That may include signaling you to ignore fatigue or recruit extra units of muscle themselves, causing them to produce a stronger contraction. But what's amazing about it is that unlike some performance enhancing manipulation some athletes do that are specific for strength or sprinting or endurance, studies show that caffeine positively enhances all of these things."

Simply put, if you consume enough caffeine- whether from coffee or another source- and you will likely run faster, last longer and be stronger. What is enough? As little as one cup can offer some benefit, but the real impact comes from at lease two mugs, says Graham. By comparison, it would take at least eight glasses of cola to get the same effect, which would not be good if running say a marathon.

The harder you work the more benefit you would receive from the caffeine. "Unfortunately, where you see the enhancing effects from caffeine is in hard-working athletes, who are able to work longer and somewhat harder," says Graham, who has studied the effects of caffeine and coffee for nearly two decades. "I you are a recreational athlete who is working out to reduce weight or just feel better, you are not pushing yourself hard enough to get an athletic benefit from coffee or other caffeinated products.

That may explain why in that new study at Harvard, those drinking decaf coffee but not tea beverages also showed a reduced diabetes risk, though it was half as much as those drinking coffee.

Related Tags: health, coffee, gourmet coffee, colombian coffee, ground coffee, health benefits of coffee

Chris Weaver is the president of C.C.W. Enterprises of Brantford Ontario Canada. His company also owns My Coffee Gourmet ( which offers its customers gourmet coffee beans, flavored coffee and Pickwick Tea.

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