The Benefits Of Drinking Coffee


Did you know that medical experts have finally certified that drinking coffee is good for the body? Well, this is indeed great news for all connoisseurs of the black beverage and I suggest that enjoy your morning cup of coffee before some new finding comes to the fore intimidating the experts to change their verdict once again! All said and done, one thing is for sure, now the coffee lovers can now sip their preferred beverage with the awareness that it is not detrimental for their health. On the contrary, there may well be certain benefits of taking this caffeine saturated drink.

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While coffee and other associated brews have been enthusing people around the world since the 15th century, over the last six decades scientists have undertaken over 21,000 researches on it - meaning one new study daily all through the years.

In fact, caffeine is a multifaceted amalgam and it has been made even more multifarious by the Americans who prefer to drink it in the form of coffee. Significantly, caffeine increases blood pressure, but regular coffee drinkers face lesser risk of dieing owing to cardiac failure compared to those who don't consume coffee. Interestingly, while caffeine leads to blood sugar, the habit of drinking coffee helps to avoid diabetes.

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Caffeine vs adenosine

If the above statements confuse you, you must first try to understand how a cup of coffee can transform you from being lethargic or tired to completely vigorous. For this, you need to learn about the properties of a compound called adenosine - which many call nature's chill pill as it puts a break on your nervous system. Simply speaking, adenosine builds up naturally in the body as the day advances slowing down one's nervous system and making him feel sleepy. In fact, it tells people that it is time to take rest and recharge their batteries.

Now caffeine is a copycat of adenosine and when these two compounds work inside the body, eventually caffeine wins. So, while adenosine tries to slow down the nervous system, caffeine makes the system run at a faster rate. Hence, when you consume coffee, your body receives a jolt and gets enthused to respond better to receptors. Researchers at Harward University have proved that people who drink four cups of caffeinated coffee daily face lesser risks of developing Parkinson's disease than those who avoid coffee. This is primarily because the caffeine helps to retain the dopamine molecules active. In addition, blocking adenosine helps to retard the growth of amyloid-beta, a lethal brain plaque that is related to Alzheimer's disease.

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Coffee and caffeine

Normally, people deem coffee as a morning bonus that refreshes us from our sleepiness and prepares us for the day ahead. The general conception is that the beverage is infused with caffeine, but the truth is coffee is not all about caffeine. In fact, it is only a minor ingredient of the beverage.

While having their morning cup of coffee, very few people do realize that they are consuming substantial proportions of anti-oxidants every day. If we go by what the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry stated in 2001, roasted coffee contains more anti-oxidants that present in cocoa, black tea, green tea and herbal tea.

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Coffee is abounding in anti-oxidant phyto-chemicals that comprise benzoic acids, cinnamic acids, flavonoids, coumarins, lignans, lignins, proanthocyanidins, stilbenes and many others. Although anti-oxidants are present in green coffee beans, their intensity goes up steeply when they are roasted. This is owing to the fact that when coffee beans are roasted, it produces a brownish polymer (large organic molecule formed by combining many smaller molecules in a regular pattern) amalgams known as melanoidins.

Coffee protects body cells

Significantly enough, anti-oxidants present in coffee shield DNA, lipids as well as proteins from the liberated cell destructing elements. It is commonly understood that these radicals are to a great extent responsible for giving rise to chronic disorders like cardiovascular ailments and even cancer. Hence, eating herbal phenols from different sources, together with coffee, helps to defend the body from such diseases.

In addition, other cell defensive anti-oxidants powerful phytochemicals present in coffee comprise cinnamate esters and chlorogenic acid, which is found between 70 and 200 mg in a typical cup of coffee. For those who still feel culpable for taking their morning cup of coffee, it is a respite to learn that scientists have established that on an average all coffee drinkers consume around 500 mg to 1000 mg of anti-oxidant cinnamates a day reducing their chances of developing chronic ailments or cancer. And those who drink coffee regularly even have the benefit of the beverage providing them with dietary supplements along with large quantities of anti-oxidants. Significantly, researchers have found, that those consuming coffee regularly face less risks of developing liver cancer.

Caffeine boosts mind power

As soon as one takes the first sip of coffee of the day, caffeine works its magic by releasing dopamine - a brain chemical that stimulates the area of gray matter responsible for alertness, problem solving as well as pleasure. According to scientists, caffeine not only produces a feeling of being stimulated and sharper, but also helps to experience mild mood-elevating effects. This is one reason why the United States already has over 9,000 Starbucks outlets and more are opening each day around the world.

According to a latest study by Austrian researchers that directly measured the impact of 100 mg of caffeine on the activity of the brain, drinking a cup of coffee just before a meeting helps to boost the mind power for roughly 45 minutes. Hence, Harvard University researchers have deduced that people who consume four cups of regular, caffeinated coffee daily are half as likely to develop Parkinson's disease as those who don't drink the beverage, most probably because caffeine keeps dopamine molecules active.

Coffee defends the liver

Contrary to the previous conceptions that people consuming caffeine infused coffee regularly faced heavy risks of developing different forms of cancer, modern researches have shown that the earlier studies were puzzling as the cancerous developments in people were not owing to coffee consumption, but other factors like smoking etc. Basically, when caffeine activates the central nervous system, the body is better equipped to combat against ailments. In fact, recent researches have advocated that coffee consumption protects the cells from different types of cancerous developments.

To be precise, a group of Japanese scientists undertook a large-scale research on the characteristics of caffeinated coffee and published their findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2005. Following their research, the scientists have established a numerically important, but reverse relation between regular coffee drinkers and cancer - hepato-cellular carcinoma. In other words, this proved that regular coffee drinkers face lesser risks of developing cancer than those who do not drink coffee at all.

The Japanese researches were not the only one to establish the inverse relation between consuming coffee and cancer as their findings were corroborated by a group of scientists in Naples in Italy where drinking coffee is virtually a way of life. Following a four-year-long clinical research, scientists in Naples deduced in a report published as recently as 2007 in the International Journal of Cancer that consumption of coffee is always linked with reduced serum liver enzyme intensity that hugely lowers the risk of liver cancer.

Researches have proved that caffeine helps in releasing of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which in turn signals the liver to pump sugar into the bloodstream. Presence of adequate sugar in the bloodstream helps the body to release immediate energy while a person is active. However, extra blood sugar is harmful for the body when it is inactive leads the body to store fat and increases the risk of diabetes.

One may, however, keep blood sugar in check by forgoing the sugar in coffee. This will actually lower the risk of developing diabetes. A study conducted by researchers at the Harvard University in 2005 concluded that consuming five cups of coffee a day minimizes half the risk of developing diabetes. This apart, scientists are yet to ascertain the reason why coffee may have a defensive effect against diabetes and say that the high intensity of disease-fighting antioxidants present in caffeine is responsible for this.

Shield your heart with java

Amongst all across the globe, the Finns love coffee most and they have a reason for it too. According to a research paper published by scientists from the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, in 2006 states that the Finns are not only traditionally habitual coffee drinkers, have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The findings of the research established that patients with type 2 diabetes who habitually consumed coffee were less likely to die from coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.

Similarly, medical researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway have attributed drinking coffee to lower risk of death from inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases in post-menopausal women. Yet another research undertaken by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2006 recommends that ingredients of coffee, barring caffeine, may influence the development of type 2 diabetes and that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee is likely to reduce risks of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women.

The science behind this is that adenosine helps blood vessels to relax, but once caffeine enters the receptors that coat the vessel walls, the arteries constrict, causing blood pressure to go up. In fact, researches have established that blood pressure may increase by as much as ten points in non-habitual drinkers. Interestingly, when researchers at the Harvard University pursued the coffee consumption of more than 128,000 people, they deduced that drinking more than 6 cups of coffee daily didn't enhance the probability of developing heart disorders. Recently, scientists at Brooklyn College discovered that men who drank four cups of regular, caffeinated coffee a day had a 53% reduced danger of dying of heart disorder than those who never ever consumed coffee.

According to Matthew Sorrentino, M.D., a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, if a person does not have hypertension, the temporary blood-pressure increase from a cup of coffee is not a problem. He adds that the influence on blood pressure is likely to be lesser in habitual caffeine consumers as their bodies become somewhat tolerant to its consequences.

So, if caffeine makes the heart race or skips beats, it is because the person is genetically sensitive to the stimulant. According to John Kassotis, M.D., a cardiac electro-physiologist at SUNY Downstate, in Brooklyn, such palpitations of the heart are actually considered innocuous, unless one had a heart attack recently. He suggests that if a person thinks he is caffeine-sensitive, he needs to consult a physician to determine if he should limit his intake.

Caffeine helps tone muscles

As caffeine boosts the central nervous system, it increases the heart and breathing rates slightly, both of which can help organize the body for the best performance. According to scientists, caffeine is also likely to have direct effects on muscles. Substantiating their claim, researchers state that calcium has to be released in a muscle fiber for that fiber to contract. Since caffeine is likely to block the adenosine receptors attached to muscle fibers, triggering electrical activity and this prompts bigger bursts of calcium.

Researches have demonstrated that consuming 140 to 400 mg of caffeine half to one hour before exercises can enhance speed as well as endurance and make workouts seem easier. But to accomplish those effects, researchers used either caffeinated soda or caffeine pills because many other chemical amalgams in coffee appear to work against caffeine's capability to impact exercise sessions.

However here is a word of caution. If someone has any heart problems or a family history of heart disorders, he should avoid high-caffeine beverages, like energy drinks, for at least four hours before start exercising. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2006, 200 mg of caffeine reduces flow of the blood by up to 39 % to the heart during exercises because it narrows coronary arteries.

Coffee to avoid colon cancer

Using data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study, researchers at the Harvard Medical School evaluated the coffee, tea, and total caffeine intake of thousands of subjects over a period of nearly 20 years. Publishing their findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2005, these researchers concluded that neither caffeinated coffee nor tea containing caffeine were anyway linked with colon or rectal cancer in women or men. While this is contrary to the conventional view on the issue, the researchers also had some good news for consumers of decaffeinated coffee establishing that habitual consumption of decaffeinated coffee was linked to a reduction of rectal cancer.

Caution against coffee

Although drinking coffee may help avoid a number of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, Parkinson's disease, and liver diseases, the consumption of the beverage is also related to increased blood pressure and homocysteine levels in the blood. This was first pointed out by researchers of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University in an article titled "Coffee and health: a review of recent human research" published in the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2006. The authors of the publication cautioned that people with hypertension or high blood pressure, children, adolescents and the aged may be more susceptible to the unfavorable effects of caffeine.

Significantly, the article has also appealed for preventive caution for pregnant women to restrict drinking coffee to a maximum of three cups daily ingesting not more than 300 mg of caffeine a day as this would help eliminate any augmented likelihood of impulsive abortion or damaged fetal development.

It's a safe drink

Notwithstanding all the positive features of coffee, that fact is that caffeine is an extremely addictive psychoactive matter. Caffeine essentially excites the central nervous system it is not bearable by all. For instance, many people suffer from anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and gastrointestinal distress following consumption of even small quantity of caffeine. While for the remaining, there is hardly any perk as a morning cup of coffee that serves as a mood elevator, energy lifter and even a laxative.

So, while choosing whether to consume coffee or not, you may take into consideration the sagely advise of the ancient Roman poet and philosopher, Lucertius who said, "What is food to one man may be a fierce poison to others."

All said and done, as mentioned in the opening paragraphs of this article, scientists have certified that coffee is a safe drink and you may rest assured that consuming the beverage will not be detrimental to your health.


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