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Friday, May 18, 2012

Live longer - with coffee

by Francine

From an article published on care2:

photo via
"For 13 years, the AARP in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health followed the lives of over 400,000 healthy adults aged 50-71. During the course of the study, about 13 percent of the participants died. Coffee drinkers were less likely to be among that 13 percent of participants, with a direct link between the cups of coffee consumed in a day and a lower mortality risk. When broken down by the way participants had died, the pattern held true for all ailments with the exception of cancer."*

And in an article about the same study, published on is something else very interesting:  "Drinking two to three cups a day lowered the overall risk of death 10%, says the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute and AARP."

WebMD reports: "Coffee is a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants. And studies have shown that it may reduce cavities, boost athletic performance, improve moods, and stop headaches  -- not to mention reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, liver cancer, gall stones, cirrhosis of the liver, and Parkinson's diseases.
"The studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers can reduce their risk of Parkinson's disease by 80%, the risk of colon cancer by 25%, the risk of cirrhosis of the liver by 80%, and cut the risk of gallstones in half. In one study, people who drank 2 cups a day of decaf coffee had half the risk of rectal cancer, compared with tea or caffeinated coffee drinkers.

"The amount of coffee consumed in the studies has varied widely. But in the research into type 2 diabetes and liver cancer, the more you drink, the lower your risk appears to be."

Curious to know what's actually in coffee (besides that addictive flavor available in so many tasty versions)?

Here goes:

Well, for one thing--coffee beans contain antioxidants called quinines, which become more potent after roasting. It so happens they are hell on wheels when it comes to fighting disease. Now here's an interesting fact, according to the same article quoted above in WebMd. According to an American Chemical Society news release, coffee is the leading source of antioxidants in American diets -- but you need to keep in mind that this is at least partly because of how prevalent coffee is in American diets. . .

Quinines, along with magnesium (also found naturally in coffee), affect blood sugar levels and are believed to be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Coffee also contains trigonelline, an antibacterial compound that gives coffee its wonderful aroma and may be even help to prevent cavities.

 * In another article published by WebMD--specifically about the recent study: "Among women, coffee drinkers and non-drinkers were equally likely to die of cancer. Among men, there was only a slight connection between heavier coffee drinking and increased risk of dying from cancer."

Coffee is a pretty interesting drink, to be sure. And people have varied tolerances for the 'buzz' from the caffeine. My daughter, who is in her mid-twenties, can drink coffee before going to bed, and she claims it doesn't affect her sleep at all. Other people feel as if their eyes are popping out of their head after just one cup in the a.m.

BTW- in spite of the new supportive evidence to longevity associated with coffee, people susceptible to high blood pressure should exercise caution re: drinking even a cup. There is no doubt that caffeine can increase your blood pressure. Definitely something to discuss with your physician. And remember that caffeine isn't limited to coffee or green tea. It's found in many delicious things--namely chocolate and wine!

Lastly--when it comes to what is actually IN coffee--consider this. There are more than 1000 compounds in java. Amazing, right? And according to the WebMD article quoted above, "very little of them have been studied."

Bottoms up!


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