Coffee’s Healthy Brew
Whether you take it black or with cream and sugar, coffee is
doing more for your body than just waking it up.
If you have ever crossed someone who skipped
his or her required cup of coffee, you know it could be the worst
day of your life. Some people just need their cup of joe to
function. Now, research is touting the idea that the ritualistic
morning beverage offers some health perks.
Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2009
reviewed multiple studies and concluded that drinking an extra cup
of coffee per day reduced a person's risk for type 2 diabetes by 7
percent. A 2010 report in the Journal of Alzheimer's
Disease suggested that drinking a few cups of coffee a day
could lower the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by as much
as 25 percent.
In addition, coffee consumption has been linked to reducing
one's chances for developing basal cell carcinoma, depression and
cardiovascular health. Most recently, Swedish scientists at the
Karolinska Institute in Stockholm revealed in the American Heart
Association journal Stroke that women ages 40 to 83 who consumed
more than a cup of caffeinated coffee a day for 10 years reduced
their risk of stroke by 22 to 25 percent.
How coffee provides a healthy defense is murky, but experts
believe the coffee bean contains strong antioxidant qualities
that provide protection against cell damage, inflammation and
insulin sensitivity, plus minerals such as magnesium, potassium,
vitamin E and chromium.
Larry Goldstein, M.D., medical director of Duke University's
Stroke Center and a spokesman for the American Heart Association,
says that while the stroke study shows an interesting association
between coffee and stroke risk, it doesn't explain cause and
effect. So, the doctor isn't suggesting you hook yourself up to a
caffeine drip and double your quad latte intake. "Coffee is a
drug-a stimulant with addictive qualities-so it's best to use
common sense," he says.
And don't forget there are other ways to prevent stroke.
Goldstein says these include not smoking, maintaining healthy blood
pressure, exercising, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, keeping
a low body mass index and watching your salt intake.
- By Sally Clasen