Starbuck's 40th year anniversary this month
Starbuck's celebrates its 40th year anniversary this month
Five Fantastic Reasons to Drink Coffee (Out of a Million)
Published on: January 3, 2007
During 2006, we reported on many studies that showed the various wonderful health benefits of drinking coffee. The common thread throughout all these reports is that drinking a few cups of coffee throughout the day will benefit us all through our lives. Here are the Top Five Health Benefits:
Protects against diabetes.
Diabetes is a severe disease that compromises the entire body making diabetics at risk for gangrene in the feet and legs, at a higher-than-normal risk for blindness, and can result in a shorter life span compared to people who do not have the disease. Type 2 diabetes, which does not always require insulin but can be treated with medicine, is nonetheless at such epidemic proportions that it has become the number one concern for the medical community. The escalation of obesity in both children and adults is a contributing factor, so eating a more balanced diet, exercising, and getting plenty of rest are essential. What researches have also discovered is that drinking coffee is a positive addition to the lifestyle for those at-risk or who already have diabetes. Anywhere from two to six cups a day have proven beneficial. The reason? Antioxidants plus other chemical elements in the complex profile of coffee. Risk factors are reduced up to 30 percent, and scientists believe that the body's metabolism of sugar is balanced by the compounds found in coffee. While the recommendations have been from two to six cups a day, all the scientists agree that it is best to space the consumption out over the day as the compounds are eliminated rather quickly and do not remain in the body for great lengths of time even though they are beneficial while consumed.
Protects against liver disease.
The liver is the largest glandular organ in the body at three pounds, and it is absolutely the workhorse of the magic of the human body. Its task is to be the filter of toxins and the other detritus that accumulate from the natural functions of drinking and eating. The blood is carried from the intestines by two main arteries (the hepatic and the portal vein) to the liver where the blood is cleansed. Liver tissue is composed of thousands of lobules, and each lobule is made up of hepatic cells, the basic metabolic cells of the liver. When these cells are compromised, liver disease can occur and, since we only have one, that makes for a life-threatening situation. Cirrhosis of the liver is most frequently caused by excessive alcohol drinking, but some cases do develop among non-drinkers. Recent studies have indicated that it is not the caffeine that helps prevent cirrhosis but the combination of other compounds in coffee. Two recent studies by Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program cohorts revealed that subjects who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had upwards of 80 percent less chance of developing liver cirrhosis than non-coffee drinkers. In another study, death from the disease was reduced 23 percent. (Cirrhosis caused by Hepatitis C appears to be unaffected by coffee consumption.) Another study, in Norway, showed that cancer of the liver can be reduced by drinking coffee. Those in the study who drank coffee regularly versus those who never or hardly ever drank coffee developed only 214.6 cases versus 547.2 of those who did (per 100,000 people).
Caffeine in coffee can rev up the body and keep the mind alert.
One of coffee's main compounds, caffeine, does not have specific nutritional value, yet it does demonstrate medicinal properties. It is particularly helpful in keeping the mind alert and the body action-ready. Several recent studies reported the therapeutic value of coffee and caffeine for protecting against the onset of dementia and/or Alzheimer's, which affects the mind. Scientists now believe that caffeine can stimulate the brain cells to stimulate choline, a necessary element in making "neurotransmitters" which are greatly reduced in dementia patients. Caffeine also helps Parkinson's patients who experience a lack of dopamine in the brain, which causes tremors and general mobility problems. The explanation for caffeine efficacy may be that it is a phytochemical (a plant-derivative chemical) and phytochemicals are well known for therapeutic, medical properties.
Coffee has powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants, plentiful in fruits and vegetables, are absolutely vital for excellent health and appear in high levels in coffee. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that fight free radicals, which, if allowed to grow, will attack our body and cause disease, most commonly cancer. Fats and sugars elevate free radicals, so it makes good sense to eat high amounts of fruits and vegetables daily - at least five servings - plus drink two cups of coffee per day. This guideline will definitely help the body build disease-fighting antioxidants in the body. Last year, a study from the University of Scranton showed that Americans' number one source for antioxidants is coffee, more so than any other diet source. And, that goes for caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated!
Protects against gallstones.
In two separate studies, one on men and one on women, caffeinated coffee appears to help reduce the symptoms of gallstones. Men have a 4 percent lower risk of developing them when they drink two or three cups of caffeinated coffee per day; however, men who drink four or more cups reduce the risk up to 45 percent over those men who do not drink coffee. These are the conclusions from a Harvard School of Public Health study that involved 46,000 male participants over a ten-year period. The men were ages 40 to 75 and had no gallstone disease at the beginning of the study. The study did not include women who, ironically, develop two-thirds of all reported gallstones; the reason is most likely because of the estrogen-cholesterol relationship. Vitamin C therapy appears to work well for women prone to stones but does seem to impact men. A separate study done by the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed 80,000 women for 20 years and reported that coffee reduces the risk of gallstones among women by 25 percent when they drink four or more cups a day, compared to those women who did not drink any coffee. The gallbladder stores the digestive fluid made by the liver, bile, and sometimes cholesterol and other substances that crystallize into stones. While they do not cause many symptoms, they can grow large enough to block the ducts that carry the bile from the liver to the small intestines. When that occurs, pain is quite intense and may be felt in the right side or the upper abdomen and travel to the right shoulder or between the shoulder blades. Researchers believe that caffeine in coffee helps lower cholesterol concentrations in the bile although caffeinated tea and soda do not have the same effect. It is also true that you can live without a gallbladder but it’s a lot easier to change your diet than go through any operation to remove it, doctors warn. Medical doctors and nutritional experts caution that eating enough fiber and drinking enough water, about 64 ounces a day, are the two best ways to prevent gallstones along with a well-balanced diet without excess salt or fat.
Happy Shrove Tuesday or fat Tuesday