Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Coffee a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

A Coffee a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?
Ever been told by a doctor that you should stop drinking coffee? It seems that we are always telling patients too much caffeine is bad for you. That may be true, but it appears that one or two cups of coffee a day has some benefit.
According to a study in the American Heart Association drinking coffee appears to offer some protection against stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women in the US. Researchers followed 34,670 women for an average of 10 years. The women reported how much coffee they drank at the start of the study and then medical records were evaluated the next 10 years. Researchers reported that women that drank a cup or two daily had less strokes by 22-25%. This was compared to women that drank less coffee or no coffee.

The scientific thought behind this??  Coffee may somehow reduce inflammation or improve insulin resistance.  The science is speculation, but the coffee effect seems to be real.
Too much coffee can lead to heart palpitations and irregular heart rhythms. Coffee does not hydrate you, either, so before exercise choose water. A great tip to moderate coffee consumption is to drink half caffeinated half decaffeinated coffee and you may avoid those side effects of  extra heart beats and tremors.
Other benefits? Coffee has not been proven to have an anti-cancer effect, but some small studies showed coffee drinkers have less liver cancer.
Coffee in excess may increase cholesterol (as well as the heavy cream in the coffee if you add it).  It also seems to protect men more than women from Parkinson’s Disease. It's possible that estrogen changes the way caffeine is metabolized since they use the same enzymes.
 A reminder that if you are pregnant or trying conceive, you should only consume 200mg per day of caffeine. That is two cups of regular coffee. Your total intake should be 200 mg, so consider all sources of caffeine (soda, tea, energy drinks).
We drink coffee as a “pick me” up during the day. It's true that one cup does increase mental alertness just 20 minutes after consumption. So spreading your coffee intake throughout the day makes sense. Having more than one cup at a time does not increase your alertness, not a “ dose “ effect.  In other words you are not likely to be more alert for a longer period of time by having that “venti” over a “tall” coffee.


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