Coffee may not be as unhealthy as many would have you believe. Although technically an alkaloid, or a poison, often touted by New Age health gurus as an evil brew, new evidence shows many surprising health benefits.
It is startling the amount of conflicting advice one hears about the health of various foods and drinks. It was once thought that eating eggs were harmful because of the high cholesterol content, and a man should not eat more than one a day. Recent evidence, however, has shown that they are not as harmful as once believed, and the controversy over cholesterol rages on. I know some bodybuilders who eat 10 to 15 raw eggs a day with no apparent ill effects.
We now know, for example, that there is good and bad cholesterol. And cholesterol is vital for the production of important hormones such as pregnenolone, responsible for the manufacture of such vital hormones as DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, etc. Without cholesterol we would die. The attack of the food and medical industry against cholesterol has been wrongheaded, among many others.
It was once thought that margarine was far healthier than butter, as another example. We now know that margarine is one of the toxic poisons produced by the food industry, who put profits over the health of its customers.
New evidence shows that coffee can actually help protect the liver in people who abuse alcohol, with up to 80% lower incidence of cirrhosis. Not bad for those who find themselves addicted.
A study done at Johns Hopkins showed that people who drink one or 2 cups of coffee a day feel healthier, happier, more focused and alert. We all know people who wouldn’t dare face the day without their cup of coffee! This appears to be related to the release of dopamine in the brain, a feel-good hormone that also can elevate energy levels.
Coffee has also shown to have protective benefits for the brain. Regular coffee drinkers experience lower levels of Parkinson’s disease. This may be due in part to the reduction of glycation – the cross-linking of sugars and proteins which produces malformed, dysfunctional links between proteins. This leads to such things as hardening of the arteries, stiff joints and wrinkled skin.
In addition, those who drink coffee have shown faster reaction times and better short term memory retention, probably due to its stimulating effects. Benefits for long-term memory have also been observed in test subjects who experienced less decline in long-term memory and cognitive function.
Also, as a result of metabolic stimulation and perhaps the release of some dopamine, coffee has also been found to help people lose weight. Weight loss is a goal most of us can relate to, so add some coffee to your daily diet and see if you don’t lose a few pounds of fat in the process.
Glycation is linked to diabetes, an inability to regulate sugar in the blood. The more sugar one consumes, the greater the chance of getting diabetes and creating glycation, with all its complications. The supplement carnosine has been shown to be most effective against glycation. So those who consume coffee may have a reduced chance of getting type II diabetes. Some studies have even suggested a 50% reduction.
We have also learned from recent studies that coffee contains many potent antioxidants which help absorb free radicals. Free radicals are considered a major cause of aging, as they “steal” electrons from healthy cells, depriving them of their life-giving force.
Studies published by the Harvard health publications of Harvard medical school have also found that those who drank three or more cups of coffee a day actually had a 50% less chance of developing certain cancers such as of the colon, rectum and breast. A minimum of 200mcg’s of Selenium and 4000 IU of Vitamin D are also excellent supplements that have been shown to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer by 50% – 60%.
Coffee has been shown to reduce muscle soreness after a hard workout, a pleasant side-effect that most active people will appreciate.
While some of these studies have involved women, I believe the same effects hold true for men in most cases.
Coffee has also been shown effective in detox by using coffee enemas to detox the colon, stimulating the liver to release toxins from the body. Most people’s colon is a thriving colony of hardened toxins, bacteria and parasites that leach into the blood. Sounds a bit weird, but many swear by it.
Studies have also shown that those who drink 4 to 5 cups of coffee a day reduced their incidence of mortality from heart disease. Coffee has anti-inflammatory properties which help keep blood vessels healthy. The cocoa in dark chocolate is also good for this purpose. Those with heart problems should also supplement with CoQ10.
And for those who worry that coffee would cause high blood pressure, you can now relax. Studies have shown that regular drinkers do not exhibit higher blood pressure than nondrinkers. This is great news, as hypertension has always been considered one of the greatest dangers of drinking coffee. But don’t drink more that 5-6 cups spread throughout the day.
Caffeine has even shown itself to be beneficial to small babies under certain circumstances. For those suffering from sleep apnea, or the inability to breathe properly, injections of caffeine have shown benefits by stimulating breathing.
Finally, even decaffeinated coffee has been shown to provide antibacterial protection against the bacteria “Streptococcus mutans”, which largely contributes to the formation ofcavities. But be careful of staining your teeth. Heavy coffee drinking will cause darkening.
However, with all the new teeth whitening technologies available today, perhaps this isn’t such a big concern anymore. Slap on some bleach and white strips and your teeth can look good as new.
There are some caveats, however. Some people are easily overstimulated by caffeine. They may experience increased anxiety, panic attacks if they are susceptible to them, irritability, and if taken too late in the evening, insomnia. Most people recommend not drinking coffee after about five or six o’clock in the evening.
And if you suffer from any other health conditions such as hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, it is best to stay away from coffee. Women who consume large amounts of coffee on a regular basis may suffer from anemia, as coffee can interfere with the absorption of iron.
The bottom line? Most new age hipsters think they have spirituality down to a science, and consider coffee to be consumed only by the unhip, nonspiritual class. But, as in many cases, they have turned out to be wrong again. Enjoy your coffee, in moderation like anything else.