Sunday, September 22, 2013
Coffee is the world's most popular beverage. Is it good or bad for your health? In the past coffee was blamed for many illnesses including high blood pressure, bone loss, fibrocystic breasts and pancreatic cancer. In fact I lost two friends within a few years with pancreatic cancer. They were both physicians and both consumed many cups of coffee a day. For that reason I markedly decreased my coffee consumption.
Early research linking coffee to health problems has been pretty much refuted by newer and better studies. Now we are at the other end of the spectrum where claims are made that coffee is actually healthful. How can it be?
Coffee contains many natural chemicals such as polyphenols. These are potent antioxidants. Coffee also contains caffeine, a natural stimulant. Caffeine is psychoactive and stimulates the central nervous system. Thus it improves reaction time, alertness and helps you wake up in the morning. There have also been studies linking coffee consumption to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, to a lower incidence of colon cancer, to a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease and to a longer life expectancy.
The bottom line in all of this is that there is no health reason to deprive yourself of coffee, but please do not drink it because it might be good for you. It is too soon to jump to that assumption.