There is an interesting article on CNN tonight that brings to light some of the benefits of drinking coffee. You can read the article written by Sarah Klein at: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/28/coffee.studies/index.html?hpt=C2
Coffee has had a bad reputation in health circles for a long time. It is common knowledge that caffeine remains in your system for up to 12 hours, and can lead to insomnia or less restful sleep.
The one statement that the author made that I disagree with is that coffee is a diuretic, which means that it increases urine output which can cause dehydration. The reason that I disagree with this statement is that the current information from studies that I have researched indicate that coffee is not a diuretic. I think the author is relying on old information on the diuretic issue and needs to do a bit more research.
The article discusses the health benefits of coffee, and summarizes recent studies from 2009 that reveal that coffee drinkers:
- may be at lower risk of liver cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease
- seemed to have lower risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer
- who are middle aged and drink 3-5 cups per day had the lowest risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in later life than people who drink more or less coffee.
- may live longer according to a 2008 study whether the coffee was decaf or not, which indicates that caffeine is not the issue
The article goes on to focus on the fact that coffee contains antioxidants, which people associate with fruits and vegetables. Food items like berries, beans and pecans have much higher levels of antioxidants than coffee, but people drink a lot more coffee. In fact, a 2005 study showed that Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than anywhere else.
There are downsides to drinking coffee as well besides insomnia. Coffee can affect heart conditions and can cause a racing heartbeat and anxiety. Drinking coffee with cream and sugar adds calories… a lot of calories. The common“double double” which adds double cream and double sugar is going to add to your waistline.
The one significant omission to the article is that the acidity of coffee was not addressed. Coffee is acidic which is not good for a body that craves to be alkaline. A list of the pH levels of ten coffees show a range of 4.9 to 5.7 according to the tests performed by Ken Davids (see http://www.coffeereview.com/article.cfm?ID=9).
Remember that a pH of 5.0 is 100 times more acidic than pure water. That means that when you drink a cup of coffee, you need to drink about 8 cups of water to neutralize the acidic effects of one cup of coffee. Alternatively, you can make the coffee with alkaline water, which is loaded with antioxidants, and will reduce the acidity of the coffee. As an alternative, drink alkaline water to put things back in balance.
The jury is still out on the benefits of coffee, but at least people are studying this widely used drug. More studies need to be conducted that span longer terms and address a multitude of factors such as age, sex, financial status (people with more money are healthier and live longer than people with less money) etc., need to be conducted to provide a more thorough analysis. In the meantime, coffee drinkers that feel bad about their addiction have something to feel good about today.
As always, the opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors that have been quoted and of this author. It is recommended to always seek out the advice of your health care provider for health issues.