Starkie's Corner: Coffee

Coffee is it good for us?

Coffee consumption has risen in the last 12 years. In fact coffee consumption is considered to be the second most consumed beverage in the world by some standards. Others still see green tea and tea consumption in the second place and coffee in third. The average cups of coffee a day? 500 billion.

We see new coffee roasters and other coffee shops increasing in our neighborhoods and malls. We have also seen a dramatic reduction in soda consumption, which is a good thing. Is coffee consumption a benefit or a detriment to our health?

We know that coffee consumption worldwide is big business. If you thought that America was the leader in coffee consumption per capita, you would be wrong. But this article is about the health of coffee consumption.

For the most part one of the arguments for coffee consumption is the energy. Caffeine is abundant in coffee about 120-240 milligrams per cup. About 70% of the global caffeine intake is from coffee. Caffeine is hailed by many, however others disdain the effects. Scientifically speaking coffee has many benefits other than caffeine. Caffeine has shown benefits in exercise (used as a pre-workout) and to increase strength. Caffeine has also shown some benefits for improved glucose tolerance for diabetics. Coffee and its chemical constituents have shown benefits for other maladies such as Alzheimer’s disease prevention, cardiovascular disease prevention, and Parkinson’s disease prevention. It should be noted that more than 8 cups of coffee a day has shown some negative results for cardiovascular disease. Keep moderation in mind.

Many of the benefits from coffee are not attributed to caffeine but to the chlorogenic acids and other antioxidant compounds found in coffee. Green coffee beans are the richest in chlorogenic acids, which are also reputed to have benefits in weight management. Roasting coffee concentrates other beneficial factors such as melanoidins which are being studied in some cancer prevention studies.

As for cancer there are some studies that indicate coffee can increase the risk for breast and prostate cancers. While recent research has suggested that there is a preventive benefit in coffee consumption and these cancers. For lung cancer the jury is still out. Current research suggests increases in lung cancer, while some argue that individuals drinking coffee often smoke as well. Some studies have suggested a risk for osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. While a recent study indicated post-menopause women in Korea to have benefits for osteoporosis and coffee consumption. Moral of the story I believe is moderation in keeping the health benefits

By Starkie Sowers

Edited by Wayne Grubacich


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