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Old 10-15-2007, 01:41 PM   #395
Sassy
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ATTENTION: COFFEE LOVERS!


Coffee lovers may be raising their cups at the growing stream of positive news about their favorite drink. For healthy adults, having two or three cups of joe daily generally isn’t harmful and it may have health perks. Some recent findings even suggest that coffee may help lower the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.


A cup of coffee contains about 1 gram of soluble fiber, the type that can help lower cholesterol, according to a recent report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


Recent Harvard studies, involving more than 193,000 people, 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.


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 the 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.


Coffee has more antioxidants 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 found in coffee might help make cells more sensitive to insulin (increased insulin sensitivity results in healthier blood glucose levels).


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 most people who enjoy coffee, there’s no reason to cut back; there may even be health benefits. However, for some, exceeding one’s caffeine tolerance—which varies—can cause irritability, headache and insomnia. 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.
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