Recent coffee research provides an extra perk
(4 February 2007: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Like much-publicized green tea, which has garnered considerable attention due to its high antioxidant content, researchers have found that coffee is quite high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are generally helpful substances, found in foods, which scavenge unstable molecules (free radicals) in your body. Free radicals contribute to oxidative stress, which, over time, can cause inflammation and other unhealthy changes in your cells.
The February issue of Mayo Clinic Womenís HealthSource highlights news about these health benefits of coffee:
Reduced risk of inflammation and cardiovascular disease. A study of more than 27,000 postmenopausal women concluded that coffeeís antioxidant properties may inhibit inflammation and, consequently, development of cardiovascular disease.
Reduced risk of diabetes: It appears that routine coffee consumption, particularly decaffeinated coffee, substantially lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Brain protection: Among a group of 890 older women, a history of consuming caffeinated coffee throughout their life appears to help preserve cognitive skills -- thinking, memory and comprehension -- possibly because of long-term caffeine exposure.
Reduced risk of Parkinsonís disease: A large trial called the Nursesí Health Study found that low levels of caffeine intake reduced the risk of Parkinsonís disease in women who used postmenopausal hormone therapy. In women who didnít use hormones, caffeine intake at moderate to high levels decreased the risk of Parkinsonís.
Some studies highlighted the health risks of coffee, too. For example, the Nursesí Health Study also showed that high levels of caffeine -- six or more cups a day -- increased the risk of Parkinsonís in women who used hormone therapy.
Of course, too much caffeine can cause restlessness, anxiety, irritability, tremors, sleeplessness, headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms and abnormal heart rhythms. In some individuals, caffeine can increase blood pressure. Some people are extra sensitive to even slight amounts of caffeine.
For most people, it appears that a moderate daily intake of coffee -- two to four cups -- doesnít seem to hurt and may even help.
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