Why Finishing That Cup of Coffee Might Save Your Heart
Coffee lovers have been proclaiming the benefits of their beverage of choice for decades, but recent medical studies may finally prove these perceived advantages. Although long-term studies are necessary in order to fully support the research, many medical professionals may begin swaying the ongoing coffee controversy back in favor of the beloved caffeinated drink.
Understanding the Coffee Controversy
Current estimates purport that nearly 90 percent of Americans consume some form of caffeine everyday, and coffee leads the pack. With the continuing popularity of Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and at-home personal coffee makers, it is little wonder that Americans’ love affair with quick-serve coffee continues. However, this warm fuzzy feeling for the caffeinated beverage has not been consistent over time.
In fact, the argument between brewers and coffee haters has spawned more than 18,000 research studies delving into the advantages and disadvantages of the drink. Even with all of this investigation, there have been very few definitive decisions about the health properties of coffee. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages addressed through research over the past years:
1. Moderate coffee drinking may lead to a reduction in the consumer’s risk for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even dementia. The antioxidants in the beverage may work to prevent brain cell damage and to promote cognitive function.
2. Early studies may indicate that coffee can activate repairs to damaged DNA, thereby preventing some forms of cancer.
3. Frequent coffee consumption may boost insulin production, in turn regulating blood sugar and reducing the risk of even decaf drinkers contracting type 2 diabetes.
4. Moderate drinkers may also lower their chances of having a stroke due to the work of the antioxidants.
5. Increased amounts coffee has been linked to lowered risk of liver disease and cirrhosis.
1. Although moderate drinkers may benefit, heavy coffee consumption of 6 or more cups a day has been associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
2. Coffee drinkers may experience increased anxiety or irritability due to chemical reactions with the brain.
3. Ingesting caffeinated beverages too late in the day can lead to sleeplessness since it generally takes 6 hours for caffeine to clear the body.
4. Coffees made Turkish-style or with a French press contain higher levels of a substance called cafestol which can lead to higher cholesterol levels in frequent consumers.
5. Pregnant and nursing women must be extra careful with their caffeine consumption as the effects on the fetus are still unknown.
While the coffee controversy continues to broil, and no definitive decisions about many of these issues have been reached, most researchers agree that benefits come from drinking approximately two to four 8-ounce cups each day, the average consumption level of most Americans.