Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Does Coffee Have Health Benefits?

To a college student, there is nothing better than a steamy cup of coffee.  Without that first cup in the morning, many of us think we won’t be able to get through our first class, let alone the entire day.  Whether it is out of habit, or for an extra energy boost, as the day goes on we tend to keep refilling our cup.  As it turns out, a recent study suggests the moderate consumption of coffee can actually provide some positive health benefits.

The data was compiled from 74,890 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, 93,054 from the Nurses’ Health Study 2, as well as 40,557 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.  The participants’ completed a questionnaire concerning their dietary habits every 4 years.  The results indicate that those who drank a moderate amount of coffee, considered less than 5 cups per day, “experienced a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, and suicide.”  Dr. Ming Ding, the lead author of the study notes, “bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation.” 

However, there have been several prior studies regarding coffee’s effects that produced inconstant results.  These studies have shown to contradict the current study, indicating that coffee actually increases cardiovascular risk.  So what should you take away from this study?  Dr. Frank Hu, another author of the study cautions, “regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet.  However, certain populations such as pregnant women and children should be cautious about high caffeine intake from coffee or other beverages.”  As far as the other ingredients present in coffee, Dr. Ding and Dr. Hu hope that further research will help uncover the roles and effects of these individual ingredients.

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