A Cup of Coffee Per Day Keeps the Doctor Away

By R.L. Fielding

Coffee is now gaining a reputation for doing more good for your health, than bad. Studies show that old myths that coffee drinking can lead to cancer, diseases, hyperactive behavior, and a higher risk of miscarriage during pregnancy have been debunked, making coffee enjoyable to drink without feeling guilty.

According to the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, an experiment showed that nineteen-month-old rats (equivalent to 70 year-old humans) who consumed coffee performed faster and more precisely in mazes than rats that did not have any coffee. Although most people believe that caffeine causes one to be jittery and unfocused, Barbara Shukitt-Hale states, "That [the rats] were not hyper at all." The rats with even an equivalent to 15 cups in their system performed tasks at a much more efficient rate than those without any coffee consumed.

Not only can coffee improve concentration and stamina, but it can improve physical ability, as well. Researchers of the Cancer Epidemiology have discovered that those who drink at least one cup of coffee daily have a 39 percent decreased risk in head and neck cancer than those who do not drink. An experiment in Sydney, Australia showed that someone who drinks 3 to 4 cups of decaffeinated coffee daily has a 33 percent decreased chance for Type 2 diabetes.

Of course, not all coffee is created equal. Certain types of coffee have proven to be more beneficial to health. Roasted coffee, for example, increases the availability of polyphenols to the brain and protects cells from oxidative damage. In other words, polyphenols have the ability to calm brain cells so that they are not overpowered by stress. With less stress, the body can focus on keeping itself healthy and fighting diseases.

Coffee has also proven to be neutral for certain factors that it was once thought to negatively impact. One common fear is that coffee consumption during pregnancy will increase the risk of a miscarriage or a preterm birth. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), however, has determined that a moderate caffeine intake should not cause anyone any worries. Less than 200 mg of coffee daily should not put a pregnancy at risk. Another unwarranted coffee concern is the fear of a connection between prostate cancer and caffeine intake. Because of the chemicals in coffee, some studies indicate that there is a greater chance of coffee preventing cancer than causing it.

As researchers continue to dispel myths and uncover previously unknown benefits of drinking coffee, you can put your mind at ease the next time you refill your mug.

R. L. Fielding
Article by R. L. Fielding
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