Wednesday, December 13

Coffee: The Relief Potion

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With coffee culture brewing up more than ever in the form of classy cafés, choc olate bars, desserts, cereals and a range of other specialties, it is becoming rather difficult to judge whether it is a devil’s drink or a relief to many health threats. This popular drink has often been a subject of a lot of offences but recent scientific researches have proved the opposite.

For most people, caffeine, in the form of coffee, provides sustenance for their over-worked and busy lifestyles when they require a compulsory dose for restoring alertness and warding off tiredness. This addictive nature is indeed the most serious charge against coffee, which eventually leads to the commonly known adverse effects. These include insomnia, restlessness, irregular heartbeat, increased gastric acid production, higher risk of giving birth to low-birthweight children and bone loss in women. For the addicts, not having coffee for 12 to 24 hours can result in depression, fatigue, failure to concentrate and headaches.

However, despite these ill-effects, it has a number of surprising health benefits that have elevated the status of this caffeinated beverage. Coffee has proved to have preventive effects against various types of cancer. A recent study of 60,000 women in US shows the risks of endometrial cancer being reduced by 25 per cent for those who consumed four or more cups per day. Also, men can cut down 60 per cent on chances of prostate cancer by drinking six or more cups daily.

Drinking six cups of coffee reduces development of skin cancer by 35 per cent while two cups cut down on chances of this disease by 12 per cent. Moreover, regular consumption of four or more cups of coffee daily can decrease the risk of head and neck cancer by 39 per cent, as published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Journal.

Coffee contains a component known as Trigonelline which has anti-adhesive and antibacterial properties; for this reason it is said to provide protection against tooth decay. It also helps in sharpening the cognitive ability in elderly women by reducing the chances of memory impairment in old age by up to 30 per cent. Research shows that women over the age of 65 who had three cups of coffee daily scored better in a memory test than their counterparts who drank one or less cup daily.

Several researches have shown that drinking about six cups of coffee per day leads to a drop in the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by 80 per cent. It provides protection against gout which is a very painful and severe form of arthritis. A research shows that drinking four to five cups daily reduces chances of gout by 40 per cent while having six cups per day can decrease gout chances by 59 per cent.

A study conducted in Italy suggests that drinking two cups of coffee daily helps defend against blepharospasm, an abnormal eye behaviour whereby a person blinks uncontrollably. Coffee is actually a better choice to fight post-gym muscle pain compared to conventional pain relieving drugs. Having a cup before going to the gym can reduce pain by about 48 per cent whereas having it just before a tough gym practice can reduce soreness by 26 per cent.

A study conducted in Finland, which is one of the highest coffee consuming countries, found that having three to four cups of coffee prevents the devel opment of type 2 diabetes by 29 per cent in women and 27 per cent in men. Type 2 diabetes often develops in middle-age and is often found in obese people.

It also helps control asthma attack when proper medicinal relief is unavailable.

Coffee helps in stimulating metabo lism and burns calories, that is to say it might just be the right solution for the many obese and fat people trying a range of weight loss techniques. Daily consumption of coffee prevents liver cirrhosis by 80 per cent. Liver cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease prevalent among alcoholics but also occurs in non-alcoholics. One study showed that drinking two or more cups daily had fewer chances of formation of gallstones over 10 years. Those who drank more than four cups had the lowest risk.

Despite such intriguing good news about this caffeinated drink, always take your doctor’s advice before replacing your water bottles with coffee. Having a moderate quantity of two to four cups of coffee does not pose any health threats for most people.

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