Monday, May 15, 2017

Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

When you’re pregnant, coffee is one of the things that doctors tell you to limit or avoid altogether. For just about everyone else, moderate amounts of coffee can actually be very good for your health.

Espresso Can Improve Long-Term Memory

Improving your memory could be as easy as drinking a few cups of espresso. Neuroscientists at the University of California (UC) discovered that caffeine, as found in espresso, can boost memory consolidation. The process strengthens memories from the time they are acquired to the time they are retrieved (remembered). This, in turn, can improve long-term memory.

Scientists have known for some time that caffeine can temporarily improve attention, and it was thought this could be the reason behind enhanced memory. However, the UC researchers accounted for this by having 160 participants study images before half of them randomly receiving 200mg of caffeine (the equivalent of two espressos). Twenty-four hours later the participants took a memory test involving the images from before, similar images and new images.

There were no accuracy differences between the two groups for identifying old versus new images. But the group that received caffeine was markedly better at distinguishing the old images from the similar images. The study also found caffeine must be consumed before the memories are formed for it to enhance memory consolidation.

Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

As scientists look for Alzheimer’s treatments, they’re also looking for evidence of things that can prevent the disease from forming in the first place. Among the most promising findings is coffee’s ability to protect cognitive function and reduce the risk of developing dementia.

The Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study showed that people who drank 3-5 cups of coffee a day in mid-life decreased their risk of dementia by 65%. Another long-term study published in the Journals of Gerontology found that women between the ages of 65-80 who drank approximately three cups of coffee a day had a 36% lower risk of dementia. Further studies are being conducted to identify the cause-effect relationship between caffeine intake and cognitive decline.

Coffee Can Decrease the Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Last year the University of Southern California published a study that found coffee could potentially decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. The best news could be it doesn’t matter what type of coffee you drink. Regular coffee, espresso, instant mixes and decaf all appear to provide the same benefit. Plus, the more you drink the lower your risk of colorectal cancer becomes.

The study involved 5,100 people who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the previous six months as well as 4,000 people with no history of colorectal cancer. Participants were asked about many dietary factors, including coffee consumption. The researchers found that people who drank 1-2 cups of coffee had a 26% lower risk of colorectal cancer. Up the intake to over 2.5 cups a day and colorectal cancer risk is decreased by 50%.

Coffee Can Ease Post-Exercise Aches and Pains

After a workout your natural reaction may not be to reach for a cup of coffee, but it could actually help relieve soreness and pain. A decade ago the University of Georgia conducted a study that examined the effects of caffeine on sore muscles. Two cups of coffee after exercising proved to be better at easing muscle soreness than some medications.

Researchers believe coffee’s ability to block adenosine receptors is at play. Adenosine is a chemical that’s released in response to inflammation.

Caffeine Can Reduce Heart Disease Risks

A few years ago a systematic review of 36 studies involving 1,279,804 participants found that people who drank moderate amounts of coffee (3-5 cups a day) had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower amounts of coffee had less of a benefit, and drinking more than five cups a day appeared to have no benefits or drawbacks in reducing heart disease.

However, it should be noted that plain, black coffee is the recommendation. Coffee with added sugar and fatty creams can outweigh the benefits of drinking coffee.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

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