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More Coffee, Please!


Tasty coffee courtesy of Maverick Coffee in Scottsdale.

Feeling guilty about drinking coffee? I often talk to people who do, but this need not be the case as long as consumption is kept in check. Here are a couple of studies that point to the health benefits, or at least lack the of negative effects, associated with coffee consumption: Food Science and Nutrition and The New England Journal of Medicine.

When smoking and many other factors known to influence health and longevity were taken into account, coffee drinkers in the study were found to be living somewhat longer than abstainers. Further, the more coffee consumed each day — up to a point, at least — the greater the longevity.

A few interesting tidbits from the article, the first I’ve been familiar with for a while, yet still hear “health authorities" claim the opposite.

Contrary to previous belief, at usual levels of consumption, coffee is not any more of a diuretic than the equivalent amount of water. Up to six cups a day can be counted toward one’s recommended liquid intake.

And, to show you’re not crazy, the kick to your coffee can vary significantly.

But there can be wide variability in caffeine levels, even in similar beverages. As Jane V. Higdon and Balz Frei of Oregon State University reported in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, when the same type of coffee was purchased from the same store on six different days, the caffeine content varied from 130 milligrams to 282 milligrams in an eight-ounce cup.

Finally, although most coffee connoisseurs know preparation is key, few are likely aware of this.

But how coffee is brewed can make a health difference. Two prominent chemicals in coffee beans, cafestol and kahweol, are known to raise blood levels of cholesterol and especially artery-damaging LDL cholesterol. These substances are removed when coffee is prepared through a filter, but remain in espresso, French press and boiled coffee. Single-serving coffee pods, like those used in a Keurig, contain filters.

 So have another cup. You can thank me later.

 

 


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