Coffee: The New Health Beverage?
Contradicting research I posted earlier this week, a story in this week’s the New York Times suggests that coffee can possibly be a considered a beneficial beverage for health. The Journal of the American Medical Association has concluded that regular coffee consumption could be associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.
Why? The hot, black beverage contains antioxidants, which can neutralize pesky free radicals. Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, which reduces blood glucose levels in animals. A typical serving of coffee contains more antioxidants than a typical serving of grape juice, blueberries, oranges and raspberries.
Experts caution that these studies focused only on black coffee, not on other “coffee drinks” such as Starbucks’ “Frappucino” or mixed coffee drinks such as lattes and mochas. Drinking these types of coffee drinks for nutrition reasons is not advisable, because they can contain fat and sugar.
Medical professionals do agree that too much caffeine can have negative implications on the body. One study, published in January in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that the same amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee significantly decreases cardiac output to the heart when exercising at a high altitude.
Harvard scientist Rob van Dam and author of the study, acknowledged this to the Times: “I wouldn’t advise people to increase their consumption of coffee in order to lower their risk of disease,” Dr. van Dam said, “but the evidence is that for most people without specific conditions, coffee is not detrimental to health. If people enjoy drinking it, it’s comforting to know that they don’t have to be afraid of negative health effects.”