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January 2017

The Benefits of Coffee

Drinking coffee may actually be healthy for you! Coffee consumption has been associated with reduced risk of several diseases including type 2 diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s, liver and heart disease.  Gout, inflammation and gallbladder health may also benefit from compounds found in coffee. Recent studies have revealed coffee may also decrease the risk of colon cancer.

Beyond Caffeine
When it comes to coffee, typically it is the caffeine that comes to mind.  However, there are other substances in coffee that may offer health benefits.

  • Chemicals are formed when the coffee beans are roasted that may benefit the colon, similar to dietary fiber.
  • Coffee contains several antioxidants, including methylpyridinium and chlorogenic acid.  Methylpyridinium may help protect against colon cancer.  Chlorogenic acid can inhibit liver cancer and slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, decreasing risks for type 2 diabetes.
  • Coffee is a surprising source of magnesium, niacin, chromium, potassium and boron.

Although these substances are associated with promoting most of the health benefits, it appears to be the caffeine in coffee that benefits the brain and Parkinson’s disease.

A Cup of Caution – Coffee is not for everyone, nor do you need to drink it for the health benefits it may offer.  If you choose to drink coffee here are some things to consider, including possible adverse health effects:

  • If you have heartburn or GERD, coffee (regular or decaffeinated) will aggravate it.
  • Coffee has a mild diuretic affect.
  • Coffee with added sugar and cream add calories and saturated fat, outweighing any potential benefits. Specialty coffee beverages are more like a milkshake!
  • Caffeinated coffee may keep you up at night.
  • If you get migraine headaches, caffeinated coffee may be a trigger.
  • Caffeinated coffee can interact with certain medications such as ephedrine, synthroid, estrogen and verapimil.  Some drugs will combine with caffeine, thus enhancing the effects of caffeine.  The absorption of other drugs may be blocked. Check with your pharmacist or health care provider regarding medication and caffeine interactions.

The Bottom Line – Current Dietary Guidelines concluded that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day with up to 400 mg. of caffeine is associated with minimal health risks.  The amount of caffeine varies depending on the coffee origin, blend and way it is brewed.  Keep in mind a cup of coffee is 6-ounces and contains approximately 80-130 mg. of caffeine.  The smallest cup at popular coffee stores is generally 8-ounces and may contain as much as 180 mg. of caffeine!


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