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Is Coffee Healthy?

There have been conflicting reports over the past few years as to whether drinking coffee is healthy or unhealthy. Here is an overview of recent news on the subject.

The possible increased risk of high blood pressure and heart trouble has been feared as a potential negative side effect of coffee consumption. And there have been studies that indicate a connection between caffeine and higher bold pressure. However, these studies were done with soft drinks containing caffeine and not coffee. Some studies seem to indicate that the healthy benefits of coffee may offset the potential blood pressure raising effects of the caffeine.

In fact, an Iowa Women’s Healthy study demonstrated that 4 to 5 cups of coffee per day actually lowered heart disease deaths by 19 percent. Other studies demonstrated similar conclusions. There have been other studies that suggest coffee may lower the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. And, other studies have shown that coffee may help prevent stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

And the news gets better. Recent studies demonstrate that drinking around 3 cups of coffee per day may help against memory decline by delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.

“These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee – about 3 cups a day – will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, who was the author of the study. He added… “The results from this study, along with our earlier studies in Alzheimer’s mice, are very consistent in indicating that moderate daily caffeine/coffee intake throughout adulthood should appreciably protect against Alzheimer’s disease later in life.” You can find out more here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-06/ip-hbc060412.php

Another recent study published in the May 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that drinking 2 cups of coffee per day cut the overall risk of dying by 10 percent. So, while the news and theories over the years have been conflicting, the more recent research on coffee drinking seems to indicate that the benefits of drinking coffee far outweigh the risks.

One suggestion though, along with the increasing science demonstrating the potential health benefits of coffee are equally compelling medical opinions about the dangers of sugar. So, it is probably prudent to avoid sweetening your coffee with any high glycemic sweetener such as table sugar or honey and opt for a healthier alternative such as agave nectar, coconut sugar or stevia.

Some closing cautionary notes: People with heartburn problems or reflux disease should avoid or limit coffee. Pregnant women should avoid or limit coffee and other drinks containing caffeine.

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