Thursday, July 08, 2004

Health benefits of Coffee ?


Any occasional reader of this blog should be familiar with how seriously I take my coffee (Your Coffee Sucks!). So you can imagine my delight while visiting in Chitown when I picked up the Chicago Tribune and saw an article discussing the growing evidence on the health benefits of a cup of joe. The latest research reveals a linkage between coffee drinking and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes -- "a growing health epidemic that is closely linked to the rising rates of obesity." And then there's this factoid: Finland has the world's highest per capita coffee consumption(?!?) That's where researchers discovered that coffee appeared to have a protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes. The more cups of coffee consumed, the greater the protection.

Here's an excerpt:

"Some people just can't get started in the morning without a freshly brewed cup of joe. For others, this beloved beverage has become more than a morning routine. A stop at the local coffeehouse for a cappuccino or iced mocha has become an afternoon tradition.

Though the virtues of coffee drinking may have been debated in the past, now there appear to be new reasons to rejoice over java. More and more studies have linked coffee consumption to a number of health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, gallstones, colon cancer and potentially heart disease.

"Coffee has much more in it than caffeine," said Dr. PeMartin, director of the Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies, which conducts medical research on coffee and is funded by a grant from a consortium of coffee-producing countries. "It's a very complex beverage that contains hundreds of compounds, including many with antioxidant effects."

Though the tea industry has been touting its antioxidants, turns out coffee may contain even more--specifically polyphenols. One of the most potent antioxidants in coffee is called chlorogenic acid, which is partially responsible for the coffee flavor. Some reports estimate that more than 850 compounds are packed inside the humble bean.

Martin said that the roasting process appears to change the structure of the compounds in coffee--boosting the potential disease-fighting benefits. Martin, who is also a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Vanderbilt, is looking at the potential use of coffee compounds to treat addiction and depression. Past studies indicate that coffee may help lift moods, reduce anxiety and depression, and even reduce the risk of suicide.

Fascinating stuff -- and quite delicious!

No clouds in your coffee
Drink up, evidence is growing on the health benefits of a cup of joe
Janet Helm, Special to the Tribune
Published July 7, 2004,1,1948678.story

Posted at 08:24 AM in Food and Drink | Permalink


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I was taken by surprise when I read they might use coffee compounds to tread addiction. I used to smoke and could never quit (when I tried it would only be for a couple months at a time). Then I began drinking coffee religiously and quit smoking cold turkey. I have not smoked a cigarette for over a year, and have no desire to ever again. People wonder how I did it and so do I- it was just really easy that time around. I also probably drink about 4-8 c of coffee a day. Any relation? Don't know!

Posted by: beth | Jul 30, 2004 11:52:05 AM

Do you think it has anything to do with how your replace something addictive with another addictive thing?!

Posted by: .ka | Apr 29, 2005 1:10:34 PM

I've read that caffeine isn't as addictive as you might think, in doses of about 1-4 cups of coffee it doesn't activate the area of the brain associated with addiction.

Posted by: JACOB CARLSON | Jul 8, 2005 9:10:05 AM

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