The Great Coffee Debate Gets Some Real Data
A significant number of people could never imagine not having that steaming cup of coffee to start their day. The delightful aroma, the taste, the invigorating caffeine lift and pleasure of sharing the experience with someone dear just like in those Folgers commercials, makes coffee among the world's most loved beverages.
If you’re a coffee drinker, you no doubt have asked yourself how much coffee is safe for you to consume on a daily basis. This is not surprising since so much has been blamed on coffee; cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc. Coffee has joined the ranks of red wine and chocolate as a guilty pleasure that may be right for you. To make coffee more tempting, science experts have discovered a whole lot of health benefits of drinking coffee.
As much as it is an excellent way to get that fix in the morning, recent studies have shown that coffee has been found to be rich in antioxidants, anti-bacterial qualities and hundreds of pain-relieving compounds. It's comforting to know that maybe that cup or two in the morning may be good for you. Here is a statistic to ponder: did you know that there are over 160 million coffee drinkers in the United States alone? No wonder there is a Starbucks on every street corner in major metropolitan areas across the United States. Regarding consumption, the average American consumes 8.8 lbs. of coffee per year. But consider this: the world leader regarding consumption is Finland, which comes in at nearly 30 lbs. per year. That's a lot of coffee!
Scientists have found that people who drink coffee appear to live longer. Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos, and whites. From the study, lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee. This suggests that the association is not tied to caffeine, said V. Wendy Setiawan, senior author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
They went further in their research to examine 185,855 coffee drinkers. The breakdown is as follows: African-Americans (17 percent), Native Hawaiians (7 percent), Japanese-Americans (29 percent), Latinos (22 percent) and whites (25 percent) ages 45 to 75 at recruitment. Participants answered questionnaires about diet, lifestyle, family, medical history, the category of coffee preferred (caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee), and the number of cups consumed daily. It was gathered that sixteen percent of participants reported that they did not drink coffee, 31 percent drank one cup per day, 25 percent drank two to three cups per day, and 7 percent drank four or more cups per day. The remaining 21 percent had irregular coffee consumption habits.
Over the course of the study, 58,397 participants about 31 percent died from the following illness; cardiovascular disease (36 percent) and cancer (31 percent). Further adjustment was carried out on the age, sex, ethnicity, smoking habits, education, preexisting disease, vigorous physical exercise, and alcohol consumption.
The Bottom Line
With over 185,855 study participants and data from previous studies, researchers found that those drinking two or more cups of coffee a day had a 44% lower chance of developing liver cirrhosis, amongst those surveyed. It all comes back to the high level of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee. But, be warned adding sugars, syrups or whiskey to coffee is not recommended as they could potentially cause stress on the liver. [That Venti Frappucino from Starbucks probably isn’t good for your waistline either!]
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