Interesting Article about Coffee on MSN today.
- 07-13-2007, 12:12 PM
Interesting Article about Coffee on MSN today.
Good News About Coffee
By Joyce Hendley, EatingWell.com
More on High Blood Pressure on MSN Health & Fitness
Coffee lovers may be raising their cups—and perhaps eyebrows—at the recent news (in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry) that the drink contains soluble fiber, the type that can help lower cholesterol. With about 1 gram per cup, coffee's fiber impact is modest. But the report is the latest in a growing stream of positive news about coffee.
Some of the most promising findings come from studies of diabetes. When Harvard researchers combined data from nine studies involving more than 193,000 people, they found that regular coffee drinkers had a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who abstained. The more they drank, the lower their risk.
And, despite coffee's reputation for being bad for the heart, recent epidemiologic studies haven't found a connection; some even suggest coffee can be protective. A study in February's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that healthy people 65 and over who drank four or more cups of caffeinated beverages daily (primarily coffee) had a 53 percent lower risk of heart disease than non-coffee-drinkers.
It's even more beguiling when you consider that the immediate effects of drinking coffee tend to go in the opposite direction, raising heart rate and blood pressure and temporarily making cells more resistant to insulin. "But those effects are probably short-lived, as people develop a tolerance," explains Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, who has studied coffee extensively. "In the long term, beneficial components in coffee may have stronger, more lasting effects."
How coffee might work isn't clear; the studies weren't designed to identify cause-and-effect relationships. Antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid (related to polyphenols in grapes), are likely players: coffee has more of them per serving than blueberries do, making it the top source of antioxidants in our diets. Antioxidants help quell inflammation, which might explain coffee's effect in inflammation-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Magnesium in coffee might help make cells more sensitive to insulin. And caffeine seems to have its own beneficial effects; the diabetes studies found that those who drank regular coffee had lower risks of the disease than decaf drinkers. Caffeinated-coffee drinking has also been linked with reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, gallstones, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Bottom Line: For healthy adults, having two or three cups of joe daily generally isn't harmful and it may have health perks.
"I wouldn't recommend drinking coffee to prevent disease," says Hu. Exceeding one's caffeine tolerance—which varies—can cause irritability, headache and insomnia. (Signs you might be overconsuming: Yelling at co-workers. Watching infomercials at 2 a.m.) The temporary rise in heart rate and blood pressure could cause problems for people with heart disease, and new moms should be aware that caffeine passes into breast milk. Hu has no plans to change his own two-cup-a-day habit. "For most people who enjoy coffee, there's no reason to cut back."
- 07-13-2007, 01:43 PM
good info - already knew about it's anti-oxidant properties, but not that it has fibre.
I wonder if coffee berries have the same effects.
- 07-13-2007, 11:41 PM
More Information to consume your time...
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is known medically as trimethylxanthine, and the chemical formula is C8H10N4O2 Caffeine Chemistry for an image of the molecular structure). When isolated in pure form, caffeine is a white crystalline powder that tastes very bitter. The chief source of pure caffeine is the process of decaffeinating coffee and tea.
Medically, caffeine is useful as a cardiac stimulant and also as a mild diuretic (it increases urine production). Recreationally, it is used to provide a "boost of energy" or a feeling of heightened alertness. It's often used to stay awake longer -- college students and drivers use it to stay awake late into the night. Many people feel as though they "cannot function" in the morning without a cup of coffee to provide caffeine and the boost it gives them.
Caffeine is an addictive drug. Among its many actions, it operates using the same mechanisms that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin use to stimulate the brain. On a spectrum, caffeine's effects are milder than amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, but it is manipulating the same channels, and that is one of the things that give caffeine its addictive qualities. If you feel like you cannot function without it and must consume it every day, then you are addicted to caffeine.
Caffeine in the Diet
Caffeine occurs naturally in many plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa nuts. It is therefore found in a wide range of food products. Caffeine is added artificially to many others, including a variety of beverages. Here are the most common sources of caffeine for Americans:
Typical drip-brewed coffee contains 100 mg per 6-ounce cup. If you are buying your coffee at Starbucks or a convenience store or drinking it at home or the office out of a mug or a commuter's cup, you are consuming it in 12-, 14- or 20-ounce containers. You can calculate the number of milligrams based on your normal serving size.
Typical brewed tea contains 70 mg per 6-ounce cup.
Typical colas (Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc.) contain 50 mg per 12-ounce can. Things like Jolt contain 70 mg per 12-ounce can.
Typical milk chocolate contains 6 mg per ounce.
Anacin contains 32 mg per tablet. No-doz contains 100 mg per tablet. Vivarin and Dexatrim contain 200 mg per tablet.
By looking at these numbers and by knowing how widespread coffee, tea and cola are in our society, you can see why half of all American adults consume more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Two mugs of coffee or a mug of coffee and a couple of Cokes during the day are all you need to get you there. If you sit down and calculate your caffeine consumption during a typical day, you may be surprised. Many people consume a gram or more every single day and don't even realize it.
Caffeine and Adenosine
Why do so many people consume so much caffeine? Why does caffeine wake you up? By understanding the drug's actions inside the body you can see why people use it so much.
As adenosine is created in the brain, it binds to adenosine receptors. The binding of adenosine causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity. In the brain, adenosine binding also causes blood vessels to dilate (presumably to let more oxygen in during sleep).
To a nerve cell, caffeine looks like adenosine. Caffeine therefore binds to the adenosine receptor. However, it doesn't slow down the cell's activity like adenosine would. So the cell cannot "see" adenosine anymore because caffeine is taking up all the receptors adenosine binds to. So instead of slowing down because of the adenosine level, the cells speed up. You can see that caffeine also causes the brain's blood vessels to constrict, because it blocks adenosine's ability to open them up. This effect is why some headache medicines like Anacin contain caffeine -- if you have a vascular headache, the caffeine will close down the blood vessels and relieve it.
So now you have increased neuron firing in the brain. The pituitary gland sees all of the activity and thinks some sort of emergency must be occurring, so it releases hormones that tell the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline (epinephrine). Adrenaline is the "fight or flight" hormone, and it has a number of effects on your body:
Your pupils dilate.
Your breathing tubes open up (this is why people suffering from severe asthma attacks are sometimes injected with epinephrine).
Your heart beats faster.
Blood vessels on the surface constrict to slow blood flow from cuts and also to increase blood flow to muscles. Blood pressure rises.
Blood flow to the stomach slows.
The liver releases sugar into the bloodstream for extra energy.
Muscles tighten up, ready for action.
Caffeine and Dopamine
Caffeine also increases dopamine levels in the same way that amphetamines do (heroine and cocaine also manipulate dopamine levels by slowing down the rate of dopamine re-uptake). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that, in certain parts of the brain, activates the pleasure center. Obviously, caffeine's effect is much lower than heroin's, but it is the same mechanism. It is suspected that the dopamine connection contributes to caffeine addiction.
So you can see why your body might like caffeine in the short term, especially if you are low on sleep and need to remain active. Caffeine blocks adenosine reception so you feel alert. It injects adrenaline into the system to give you a boost. And it manipulates dopamine production to make you feel good.
The problem with caffeine is the longer-term effects, which tend to spiral. For example, once the adrenaline wears off, you face fatigue and depression. So what are you going to do? You take more caffeine to get the adrenaline going again. As you might imagine, having your body in a state of emergency all day long isn't very healthy, and it also makes you jumpy and irritable.
The most important long-term problem is the effect that caffeine has on sleep. Adenosine reception is important to sleep, and especially to deep sleep. The half-life of caffeine in your body is about 6 hours. That means that if you consume a big cup of coffee with 200 mg of caffeine in it at 3:00 PM, by 9:00 PM about 100 mg of that caffeine is still in your system. You may be able to fall asleep, but your body probably will miss out on the benefits of deep sleep. That deficit adds up fast. The next day you feel worse, so you need caffeine as soon as you get out of bed. The cycle continues day after day.
This is why 90% of Americans consume caffeine every day. Once you get in the cycle, you have to keep taking the drug. Even worse, if you try to stop taking caffeine, you get very tired and depressed and you get a terrible, splitting headache as blood vessels in the brain dilate. These negative effects force you to run back to caffeine even if you want to stop.
07-16-2007, 11:04 AM
so we have two viewpoints - one good one not so good? maybe that was called for in another post all by itself. . .
07-16-2007, 11:19 AM
07-16-2007, 11:53 AM
07-26-2007, 02:26 AM
07-26-2007, 10:33 AM
07-26-2007, 10:45 AM
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