How To Pair Perfectly With Your Coffee And Health
Coffee may taste wonderful and wake you up in the morning, but what about your health?
“In terms of coffee and health, there is clearly far more good news than negative news,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, a nutrition and epidemiology professor at Harvard School of Public Health.
But (didn’t you know there would be a but?) Coffee hasn’t been shown to help with any of these issues.
For the purpose of science, researchers do not ask individuals to drink or not drink coffee. Instead, they inquire about their coffee preferences. These researches are unable to demonstrate cause and effect. Coffee consumers may have other advantages, such as healthier diets, greater exercise, or protective genes.
As a result, there isn’t any concrete evidence. However, there are some indications of potential health benefits — as well as some caveats.
If you’re like the typical American, who drank 416 8-ounce cups of coffee in 2009 (according to the World Resources Institute), you might be curious about what that coffee can do for you,
Here’s a breakdown of the research by condition.
Diabetes Type 2
Based on more than 15 published research, Hu believes the data on coffee and type 2 diabetes is “very substantial.”
“The great majority of those research has found that coffee can help avoid diabetes. And now there’s proof that decaffeinated coffee has the same health benefits as normal coffee,” Hu tells WebMD.
Hu’s team looked at nine papers on coffee and type 2 diabetes in 2005. Those who indicated they drank more than six or seven cups daily were 35 percent less likely to have type 2 diabetes than those who said they drank less than two cups daily, according to a study of more than 193,000 adults. People who drank 4-6 cups per day had a lesser benefit (a 28 percent decreased risk). The results were consistent independent of gender, weight, or geographic location (the U.S. Or Europe).
Australian researchers have examined 18 trials, including roughly 458,000 participants. Every additional cup of coffee consumed daily reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 7%. Decaf coffee consumers and tea drinkers had equal risk decreases. The researchers did warn, however, that data from some of the smaller studies they looked at might be unreliable. As a result, it’s probable that they exaggerated the strength of the association between coffee use and diabetes.
How may coffee help prevent diabetes?
He explains, “It’s the full package.” He mentions antioxidants, which are substances that help prevent tissue damage produced by oxygen-free radical molecules. “We know coffee has a high antioxidant capacity,” Hu explains.
Coffee also includes minerals like magnesium and chromium, which aid in the body’s usage of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar levels (glucose). The body’s capacity to utilize insulin and manage blood sugar is impaired in type 2 diabetes.
But it’s most likely not the caffeine. “I think we can reasonably claim that the advantages are not likely to be related to caffeine,” Hu adds, citing research on decaf coffee.
Can you perhaps put the caffeine on hold?
According to James D. Lane, Ph.D., professor of medical psychology and behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., just because coffee includes nice stuff doesn’t imply it’s beneficial for us.
“It hasn’t been proven that coffee consumption increases antioxidant levels in the body,” Lane tells WebMD.
“We know that coffee has a lot of antioxidants, especially when it’s newly made, but we don’t know if those antioxidants emerge in the bloodstream and in the body when someone consumes it.” Those studies have yet to be completed.”
Caffeine is included in regular coffee as well. According to Lane, caffeine can boost blood pressure and blood levels of the fight-or-flight chemical epinephrine (also known as adrenaline).
Stroke and Heart Disease
Several risk factors for heart attack and stroke may be mitigated by coffee.
First, there’s the possible impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes. Heart disease and stroke are more prevalent in those with type 2 diabetes.
Coffee has also been related to a reduced risk of cardiac rhythm abnormalities (another heart attack and stroke risk factor) in both men and women, as well as a reduced risk of stroke in women.
The evidence of coffee’s cancer-prevention impact is poorer than for type 2 diabetes. “However, I believe the results for liver cancer are pretty consistent,” Hu explains.
“Every study has demonstrated that a high coffee intake is linked to a lower incidence of liver cirrhosis and cancer,” he explains. He calls this a “really exciting discovery,” but it’s unclear how it may function.
This study, like other studies on coffee and health, suggests a probable link, but does not prove cause and effect.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) concluded in August 2010 that moderate caffeine use (less than 200 mg per day, or about 12 ounces of coffee) had no significant effects of miscarriage, preterm birth, or fetal development.
However, the consequences of higher caffeine dosages are unknown, and another study suggests that pregnant women who consume several cups of coffee per day are more likely to miscarry than non-drinkers or moderate drinkers. It’s unclear whether the coffee had anything to do with it.
Calories, Acid Reflux, and Urine
You’re not going to blow your calorie budget on coffee unless you start adding the extras.
If you drink a lot of coffee, you could find yourself going to the toilet more frequently. Caffeine is a moderate diuretic, meaning it causes you to pee more than you normally would. Water has nearly the same effect on urine output as decaffeinated coffee.
Coffee, both normal and decaffeinated, contain acids that might aggravate heartburn.