Coffee drinkers, rejoice! The heavenly brew, once deemed harmful to health, is turning out to be, if not quite a health food, at least a low-risk drink, and in many ways a beneficial one. It could protect against diabetes, liver cancer, cirrhosis and Parkinson's disease.From a public health perspective, the conflation and negation of the effects of coffee with those of cigarettes is the type of problem that one constantly has to constantly watch out for.
What happened? Lots of new research, and the recognition that older, negative studies often failed to tease apart the effects of coffee and those of smoking because so many coffee drinkers were also smokers.
"Coffee was seen as very unhealthy," said Rob van Dam, a coffee researcher and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Now we have a more balanced view. We're not telling people to drink it for health. But it is a good beverage choice."
Thursday, May 21, 2009
A cup of Joe for 'Bo
I enjoy a good cup of green tea, but I enjoy coffee more. My mother thinks I drink too much of it, and I must admit I did, back before I realized that a venti included three shots of espresso.
Consequently what I thought was two or three cups of coffee a day was the equivalent of six to nine cups. I eventually quit that habit when I started getting the jitters at the end of the day. But I was doing that for so long, it is truly amazing that Kushibo is not as wide as he is tall. (Kushibo is actually fairly slim for someone in the Gen-X cohort.)
Really, my mother is nagging me about coffee because I would nag her about aspartame consumption. She has no leg to stand on, so she has to lash out in some other way. But the truth is, as the Los Angeles Times sums up nicely for us, coffee is probably at worst a zero-effect substance or, at best, something that may actually enhance your health:
At any rate, as the article explains, the various salutary effects come from different aspects of the coffee itself. In other words, it might be the caffeine (in which case drinking tea can have a similar effect) or it might be the coffee (in which case drinking decaffeinated would do the trick).
Of course, if you're drinking something for the health benefits alone, probably nothing beats green tea or plain old water. And if you start calorie-loading that coffee with all kinds of sugar-infused crap, you're kinda defeating the purpose. Try honey instead of table sugar, for starters.
on May 21, 2009