5 Reasons drinking coffee may not be bad after all

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More than 100 million Americans choose coffee as their eye-opener of the day. For many cultures, the simple coffee bean is first-choice for a preferred beverage. When it comes to coffee consumption though, Latinos are ahead of the national average. According to the National Coffee Association, more than 76 percent of Hispanic Americans drink coffee on a near daily basis, putting them well ahead of the national average of 13 percent.

Moreover, 44 percent of Hispanic Americans admit to indulging in gourmet coffees versus 30 percent of Caucasians and 25 percent of African Americans. Among all cultures, the preferred gourmet choice: anything espresso-based.

Drinking coffee and health benefits

People who enjoy freshly brewed coffee on a regular basis should note that while there are health benefits to drinking coffee, there are also health risks that come with drinking large amounts, however, research from Mayo Clinic shows that the health benefits just may outweigh the health risks.

Donald Hensrud, MD, a preventative medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic points out that “there are no recent study connections between drinking coffee, an increased risk of heart disease, or cancer”. Instead, he says drinking coffee may very well help protect people against health problems such as liver cancer, type 2 diabetes and even Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Hensrud is also quick to note that people should drink coffee in moderation. He warns that coffee consumers who practice heavy coffee use, which is four to seven cups of coffee per day, are likely to experience issues such as sleeplessness, anxiety and irritability.

Hensrud reminds coffee connoisseurs who prefer their joe unfiltered to keep in mind that high levels of unfiltered coffee consumption has been linked to elevated cholesterol levels. He explains that some people have a specific gene mutation that prevents their body from breaking down caffeine. These types of people can be at an increased risk for developing heart disease. He concludes by noting that your health risk towards coffee consumption is related to how quickly your body is able to metabolize coffee.

1. Coffee and weight loss
Drinking green coffee extract, coffee made from unroasted coffee beans, may prove helpful in getting rid of those unwanted pounds. American researchers preformed a study on 16 overweight adults. The study showed positive results with 37.5 percent of participants going from a pre-obese weight to a normal weight range over the 22-week time-frame. Green coffee extract may be an effective and inexpensive means for preventing obesity.

2. Coffee and alertness
There is a good reason many people drink coffee as a form of stimulation. The US National Library of Medicine says drinking coffee every day can help mid-aged people with mental sharpness. When people drink coffee the caffeine interaction increases their GCSF, a growth factor that helps create neurons in the brain.

Study participants showed a 65 percent risk decrease in developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease later in life with regular coffee consumption. Doctor’s also remind consumers that caffeine, the main ingredient in coffee, is a mildly addictive stimulant and may not be the best beverage choice for some.

3. Coffee and multiple sclerosis
A new study at John Hokpins University School of Medicine showed that the compounds in coffee may reduce an individual’s risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), a nervous system disease that affects 2.3 million people around the world. Researchers have found caffeine proactive against other diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and are now wondering if it may provide some protection against MS.

Study author Dr. Ellen Mowry, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and a member of the American Academy of Neurology explains, “Coffee/caffeine intake seems to be protective against Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, leading to a question of whether it might also be important for MS, another central nervous system disorder.”

Researchers are not suggesting people who already have MS increase their coffee/caffeine intake since caffeine can irritate the bladder, a problem some MS sufferers already experience.
Drinking 5 or more cups of decaf equal to 2 cups of caffeinated, study shows

4. Coffee and diabetes
Harvard researchers found that coffee drinkers who consumed coffee for two or more years had a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People who regularly consume coffee showed impaired glucose tolerance and decreased insulin sensitivity. Even though coffee can have positive effects on reducing type 2 diabetes, people who drink coffee with added milk or sugar or those who prefer the sugary gourmet coffees, can increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Coffee consumption and a longer life
Some coffee consuming men were able to reduce their death risks by as much as 12 percent. A study that involved more than 400,000 men over the course of 13 years showed that men who consumed one cup of coffee per day reduced their death risk by 6 percent, while men who drank 3 or more cups of coffee a day reduced their risk by 10 percent.

A separate study involving 76,000 men concluded that men who drank 1 to 3 cups of coffee a day reduced their chances of dying from a cardiovascular disease by 38 percent. While there are heart-healthy benefits, it’s important to understand that coffee does have some cardiovascular effects that include increased blood pressure and an increased heart rate.

While drinking coffee does have some positive health benefits, those wanting to improve their health should concentrate more on lifestyle changes rather than coffee consumption. Lifestyle factors such as eating fruits and vegetables, consuming whole grains, ensuring adequate physical exercise and other events such as quitting smoking will have larger positive effects.

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