If we want to age vibrantly, should we be drinking coffee?
Where are we in the debate? Lately, I have seen stories popping up across the internet that condemn coffee and tell us never to let the stuff within a fifty-foot radius of our person. I refuse to give even the mildly bizarre claims space here.
Just to be sure I had the best and most current intel on the subject, I went back to my stable of expertsꟷ the doctors and scientists I look to for the best opinions. I find they haven’t changed their stance on drinking coffee: coffee is clearly a positive addition to our libation library.
Like everything else, coffee should be consumed in reasonable amounts to avoid getting the shakes or biting off loved ones’ heads from too much caffeine. I am so glad the debate seems to be over, because I love coffee and I did give it up for a time when it was considered B-A-D.
Let’s look at just a few of the respected sources touting coffee’s benefits.
According to folks at the Cleveland Clinic Canada, there are few negatives in drinking moderate amounts of coffee, and while filling your cup with as much sugar as coffee pretty much decimates coffee’s benefits, caffeine in all its guises as coffee or tea has numerous health enhancing properties including:
- Improving mental focus
- Boosting cognitive function
- Enhancing athletic performance
Coffee has even been shown to stave off several serious health problems, as well:
Many studies in the United States and Canada suggest that drinking coffee, or tea, may very well reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s, especially in people with a certain genetic make-up. For patients living with Parkinson’s, caffeine has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms, particularly motor symptoms such as movement and stiffness.
Research of several major studies by Dr. Catarina Santos published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggests that moderate daily coffee consumption also helps stave off Alzheimer’s disease. Some research shows that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day can reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 65%.
Studies show that caffeine aids in the prevention of two signature signs of Alzheimer’s: amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Both caffeine and coffee have antioxidant effects, reducing inflammation, and protecting brain cells in the cortex and hippocampus—the key areas, you may remember, which are responsible for memory.
Coffee also curbs appetite and facilitates the burning of fat in the liver, which helps prevent obesity, the number-one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. A high intake was recently shown to reduce the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is exceptionally common in obese and diabetic individuals.
The same beneficial chemicals that ward off cognitive decline also slow the absorption of glucose in the intestines. This is the likely explanation for coffee’s protective effects of type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Rachel Huxley, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research at La Trobe University, Australia, found from a meta study of 18 different studies involving more than four hundred and fifty thousand participants, that every cup of regular coffee lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes by seven percent, and three to four cups of decaffeinated coffee per day reduces that risk by 33% compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Another monumental study in the UK, following almost a half a million people for 12.5 years found drinking four to five cups of regular coffee lowered the risk of arrythmia by 17%. In that study, ground coffee drinkers imbibing two to three cups per day lowered their risk of dying from any cause by more than 27%.
Many people believe there is an association between drinking coffee and arterial fibrillation, or “A Fib.”
Good: Not true, these researchers found. Based on this study, David Perlmutter, MD, part of my go-to gang, said, “This literature gives me added backing for the recommendation for 2-3 cups of coffee each day as yet another scientifically validated tool for better health.”
Coffee Has Protective Antioxidants
Last, but certainly high in everyone’s positive opinion of coffee, that cup of java is a terrific source of protective antioxidants. Additionally, caffeine increases the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine and enhances delivery of nutrients and oxygen to our muscles and brain.
Coffee Does Have a Drawback
I like to be balanced in my writing, and caffeine does cause a decrease in bone density. So, if you drink coffee or tea, make sure to get in regular weight bearing workouts to keep your bones thick and strong. But, of course you are already doing that type of exercise as part of your Be Vibrant and stay vibrant regime!
I hope this helps you see clearly through the muck being spread out there and feel good about our shared love of the bean.
Summary: In reasonable amounts, daily consumption of coffee and tea provides positive benefits to our health as well as added protection against many ailments.
Until next time… Be Vibrant!