Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Health benefits of coffee: myth or reality?

by Waldirene Biernath

Source: Google image
Coffee is a well known drink all over the world; it has been a highly preferred beverage among many people. Everywhere you go it does not matter which city it is, coffee is widely drunk by so many people. 

With its dark color, strong flavor, and mind-altering properties, coffee has always aroused awe and suspicion in cultures that encountered it. It definitely has become a social symbol for all age groups and due to this it has been developed into many different flavors, forms and presentations. 

Source: Google image
Though the modern coffee drinks or blended drinks with numerous adaptations and flavors have been introduced, black hot coffee is still more popular and still one of the greatest beverages all over the world.

Benefits x Harms

Scientists have published hundreds of papers attributing both harms and health benefits to coffee.

There are the studies suggesting coffee drinkers are less likely to get liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and prostate cancer than abstainers, and coffee has also been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 

Source: Google image
According to research by the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), drinking five coffee cups daily, filtered or brewed, it does not alter indices of cholesterol (LDL and HDL) or triglyceride levels and it still helps lose weight.

On the other hand, an analysis of more than two dozen studies concluded that coffee drinkers had about a 20 percent increased risk of developing urinary tract cancer, and a 2010 meta-analysis found that heavy coffee drinking may raise lung cancer risk. Women who drink coffee tend to have lower bone density and an increased risk of fractures compared with nondrinkers, and numerous studies show that coffee increases blood pressure.

What is a Safe Amount of Caffeine?
It is generally agreed that consuming up to 300 mg of caffeine per day is safe. That would be about the amount of caffeine you would get from three cups of coffee. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant may want to decrease that amount or skip the caffeine altogether.

Caffeine is a stimulant and some studies show that small amounts of caffeine may increase your mental response time. Other studies show that the cognitive improvements and mood elevation may not really be due to the beneficial aspects of caffeine as much as ending the withdrawal symptoms we feel when we haven't had our morning "fix" yet.

Source: Google image
Some studies say coffee is good for you; others say it's bad. The scientists are just as confused as we are. Anyway, it is suggested to moderate in consumption of the drink, having like the main idea that everything in excess or abuse it is not good for you.

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mind-altering (adjective)producing mood changes or distorted perception ("Hallucinogenic drugs are mind-altering substances");

aroused (adjective): very strongly excited or indicating excitement;

awe (noun): a feeling of great respect and admiration, often combined with fear;

brewed (noun):  drink made by steeping and boiling and fermenting rather than distilling;

withdrawal symptoms: any physical or psychological disturbance (as sweating or depression) experienced by a drug addict when deprived of the drug.

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