Tag Archives: caffeine

Is Caffeine a Friend or Foe?

Caffeine jump-starts your day and puts a bounce in your step. It can help you focus, improve your mood and maybe even help you live longer.

But how much is too much?

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Caffeine, a natural stimulant, can be found in a variety of foods, such as coffee beans, tea leaves, cacao beans, guarana berries and yerba maté leaves. It also can be synthetically created and added to beverages such as soda and energy drinks. Research shows that about 90% of U.S. adults consume some form of caffeine every day.

One of the most popular ways people consume it is through coffee. Because of that, most caffeine research centers around this drink, said Dr. Greg Marcus, associate chief of cardiology for research and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Coffee consumption linked to reduced risk of acute kidney injury

Full disclosure, I love coffee and coffee drinks like latte’s and cappucino. I drink more than one cup every day of my life.

If you need another reason to start the day drinking a cup of joe, a recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has revealed that consuming at least one cup of coffee a day may reduce the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) when compared to those who do not drink coffee.

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The findings, published May 5 in the journal Kidney International Reports, show that those who drank any quantity of coffee every day had a 15% lower risk of AKI, with the largest reductions observed in the group that drank two to three cups a day (a 22%23% lower risk).

“We already know that drinking coffee on a regular basis has been associated with the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease,” says study corresponding author Chirag Parikh, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Nephrology and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We can now add a possible reduction in AKI risk to the growing list of health benefits for caffeine.”

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Health Benefits of Coffee – Johns Hopkins

Ah, coffee. Whether you’re cradling a travel mug on your way to work or dashing out after spin class to refuel with a skinny latte, it’s hard to imagine a day without it. The caffeine perks you up, and there’s something incredibly soothing about sipping a steaming cup of joe. But is drinking coffee good for you?

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Good news: The case for coffee is stronger than ever. Study after study indicates you could be getting more from your favorite morning beverage than you thought: Coffee is chock full of substances that may help guard against conditions more common in women, including Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease, say nutrition experts from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

What are the top health benefits of drinking coffee?

Your brew gives you benefits beyond an energy boost. Here are the top ways coffee can positively impact your health:

  1. You could live longer. Recent studies found that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from some of the leading causes of death in women: coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
  2. Your body may process glucose (or sugar) better. That’s the theory behind studies that found that people who drink more coffee are less likely to get type 2 diabetes.
  3. You’re less likely to develop heart failure. Drinking one to two cups of coffee a day may help ward off heart failure, when a weakened heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to the body.
  4. You are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine is not only linked to a lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, but it may also help those with the condition better control their movements.
  5. Your liver will thank you. Both regular and decaf coffee seem to have a protective effect on your liver. Research shows that coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don’t drink coffee.
  6. Your DNA will be stronger. Dark roast coffee decreases breakage in DNA strands, which occur naturally but can lead to cancer or tumors if not repaired by your cells.
  7. Your odds of getting colon cancer will go way down. One in 23 women develop colon cancer. But researchers found that coffee drinkers — decaf or regular — were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
  8. You may decrease your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. But the caffeine in two cups of coffee may provide significant protection against developing the condition. In fact, researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop dementia in general.
  9. You’re not as likely to suffer a stroke. For women, drinking at least one cup of coffee a day is associated with lowered stroke risk, which is the fourth leading cause of death in women.

For the record, I love coffee. I confess that the caffeine part scares me, so I drink decaf. My favorite snack, which I have every day, is a cup of hot coffee and a handful of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds in the shell. Don’t know how this came to be, but I have been doing it for years and look forward to it every afternoon. Tony

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Coffee could lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease – Study

Good news for those of us who can’t face the day without their morning flat white: a long-term study has revealed drinking higher amounts of coffee may make you less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

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As part of the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of ageing, researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) investigated whether coffee intake affected the rate of cognitive decline of more than 200 Australians over a decade.

Lead investigator Dr. Samantha Gardener said results showed an association between coffee and several important markers related to Alzheimer’s disease.

“We found participants with no memory impairments and with higher coffee consumption at the start of the study had lower risk of transitioning to mild cognitive impairment — which often precedes Alzheimer’s disease — or developing Alzheimer’s disease over the course of the study,” she said.

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The Buzz on Energy Drinks – Tufts

The latest market data show a continued rise in demand for energy drinks—beverages that promise things like increased energy, improved mood, and sharper mental acuity. Medical records show adverse events related to these drinks are on the rise as well, according to the Health & Nutrition Letter of Tufts University.

Typical Ingredients: Most energy drinks contain caffeine, and many contain multiple stimulants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t define the term “energy drink,” which means manufacturers can decide whether to label their products as dietary supplements or beverages. For beverages, manufacturers must abide by the FDA’s safety limits for ingredients like caffeine. Dietary supplements are not regulated, so there are essentially no safety guidelines.

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Caffeine and Your Brain – NIH

A hot cup of coffee or tea is a highlight of the morning for some people. It can make you feel awake and alert. Caffeine is the chemical that causes these sensations. But does caffeine have other effects on the brain?

Caffeine is found naturally in tea and coffee. But it is added to energy drinks and many types of soda. It’s even put in some snack foods and medications. More than eight out of 10 adults in the U.S. consume caffeine in some form.

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So how does caffeine wake you up? Your body naturally produces a chemical called adenosine. It builds up in your body during the day.

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Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day… and Every Day

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

If this looks familiar it’s because I ran it last year on St. Patty’s Day.

gif-st-patrick-188.gif“BETTER to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”
Ancient Chinese proverb.


If that really is an ancient Chinese proverb it must be referring to green tea. Don’t know about green tea? You are in for a treat.

About.com reports that in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute had a study showing that green tea drinking cut the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly 60%.

Nadine Taylor wrote an entire book on it – Green Tea: The natural secret to a healthy life.gif-st-patrick-192.gif

Green tea, beautiful benefits

HealthMad lists 10- benefits of green tea.

1 Used to treat Multiple sclerosis
2 Cancer treat/prevent
3 Stop Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s
4 Raises metabolism and increases fat oxidation
5 Reduces risk of heart diseases and attacks by cutting…

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Two Compounds in Coffee May Team Up to Fight Parkinson’s – Study

As a senior citizen coffee drinker who also has serious concerns about possible cognitive impairment, I was pleased to run across this study by  Rutgers scientists.

Rutgers scientists have found a compound in coffee that may team up with caffeine to fight Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia – two progressive and currently incurable diseases associated with brain degeneration.

The discovery, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests these two compounds combined may become a therapeutic option to slow brain degeneration.

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Mouradian said further research is needed to determine the proper amounts and ratio of EHT and caffeine required for the protective effect in people. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

Lead author M. Maral Mouradian, director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Institute for Neurological Therapeutics and William Dow Lovett Professor of Neurology, said prior research has shown that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. While caffeine has traditionally been credited as coffee’s special protective agent, coffee beans contain more than a thousand other compounds that are less well known. Continue reading

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How coffee protects the brain

I am guilty of being a coffee lover. I am so bad that when I see someone on TV carrying a cardboard cup of the brew, I am tempted to make some for myself. So, the following was good news for me.

Scientists have now proved that drinking certain types of coffee can be beneficial to brain health, but how does this popular brew support cognitive function? A new study identifies some of the mechanisms that allow coffee to keep mental decline at bay.

woman holding a cup

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According to data from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, about 54 percent of all adults in the United States drink coffee on a daily basis.

While drinking coffee can bring both benefits and risks for a person’s health, a 2016 study from the University of Ulster in Coleraine, United Kingdom, concluded that the health benefits of moderate coffee consumption “clearly outweigh” the potential risks.

One of these benefits is that coffee seems to protect the brain against cognitive impairments and boost thinking skills. Continue reading

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Caffeine From Four Cups of Coffee Protects the Heart With the Help of Mitochondria

I am a coffee drinker and always happy to learn of positive effects to be gleaned from drinking it. As a matter of fact, I pretty much concentrate on decaf, though, because I don’t like to introduce any foreign chemicals into my system if I can help it. Also, I read an article about caffeine withdrawal symptoms that scared me.

Summary: A new study reports caffeine concentration, the equivalent of four cups of coffee, can promote the movement of a regulatory protein into mitochondria. This can enhance mitochondrial function and protect heart cells from damage.
Source: PLOS.

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They found that caffeine induced the movement of p27 into mitochondria, setting off this beneficial chain of events, and did so at a concentration that is reached in humans by drinking four cups of coffee. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

Caffeine consumption has been associated with lower risks for multiple diseases, including type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, but the mechanism underlying these protective effects has been unclear. A new study now shows that caffeine promotes the movement of a regulatory protein into mitochondria, enhancing their function and protecting cardiovascular cells from damage. Continue reading

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Can coffee improve your workout? The science of caffeine and exercise

I confess I love coffee. I drink it every morning and after meals when I eat out. Mostly I consume decaf as I have read some horrifying studies on caffeine addiction and caffeine headaches. Also, I really don’t like to add chemicals to my system if I can help it. Here is an interesting study of the effect of caffeine and coffee on workouts from Medical Xpress.

Caffeine is one of the most researched substances reported to help athletes perform better and train longer and harder. As a result, professional and amateur sportspeople often take it as a performance-enhancing “ergogenic” aids for a wide range of activities. These include intermittent exercise such as football and racket sports, endurance exercise such as running and cycling, and resistance exercise such as weightlifting.

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But while most research looks at the effects of pure caffeine consumed as tablets with water, in the real world most people get their caffeine from coffee, energy drinks or other products like special gels or chewing gum. So will drinking a cup of joe before your workout actually make a difference? The answer could depend as much on your genes as what kind of coffee you’re drinking.

Scientists think caffeine affects the body chemical adenosine, which normally promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. Caffeine ties up the receptors in the brain that detect adenosine and so makes it more alert. Continue reading

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Why Should I Eat More Dark Chocolate?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought it worth revisiting this post I did on eating more dark chocolate.

Enjoy!

Tony

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

Before starting, let me clarify that the word ‘more’ in the header assumes you are eating little or no dark chocolate at present because here in the U.S. we primarily eat milk chocolate. How much? Good question. Some 71 percent of the chocolate we eat is milk chocolate. And, how much total?

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The World Atlas of Chocolate puts the U.S. in 11th place worldwide in per capita chocolate consumption with a paltry 11.5 pounds per year. Switzerland is in first place with more than double that total.

As far as a definition of dark chocolate goes, the U.S. has no fixed percentage of cocoa content to define dark chocolate. In practice, however, it seems that 70 percent cocoa solids qualifies as dark chocolate.

But why eat more dark chocolate? Experience L!fe says, “Sure, chocolate’s exquisitely decadent. But its primary ingredient, cocoa, has triple the antioxidants of green tea, helps reduce…

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Are we java junkies? – Infographic

I am a coffee drinker and coffee lover. I wrote about my cold brewing coffee in March. Also, check out my post from Harvard on coffee facts.

This is one of the most informative infographics I can remember seeing. Enjoy!

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Tony

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7 Steps to Smarter Coffee Drinking – Infographic

First of all, bike riders are notorious coffee drinkers. Although I ride a bike plenty, I am not one of the caffeine crazies. However, I did just write a post on cold-brewed coffee. My daily consumption comes to little more than two cups a day. Draw your own conclusions. I just ran across this infographic and thought it had a lot of good information on the subject.

Here’s a fun little caffeine fact: Caffeine was on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) list of prohibited substances for many years. Athletes who tested positive for more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine could be banned from the Olympic Games. This level can be reached after drinking about 5 cups of coffee. However, the IOC REMOVED caffeine from the banned list in 2004. Caffeine was taken off of the list of banned substances so that athletes who drink cola or coffee are not penalized.

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Tony

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How Good is Coffee or Tea for You or Me? – Infographic

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t drink either coffee or tea. It doesn’t break by sex either. I think I have more men friends who drink tea only than my women friends. All that is just anecdotal speculation. The bottom line is pretty much all of us drink something that gets us started in the morning. So, how are we doing?

I think this infographic does a nice job of spelling out the pluses and minuses.

Ironically, while I am personally primarily a coffee drinker, I have written about tea several times, especially green tea. To read further, check out:

Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day… and Every Day
Green Tea Boosts Your Brain
How Healthy is Tea Drinking?
Is Tea Healthier Than Coffee?
How Much Sugar is in SoBe Green Tea?
Dr. Oz on Chia Seeds and Green Tea
coffee-tea-benefits

Tony

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3 Simple Ways to Get More Restful Sleep – Harvard

Regular readers know that I feel strongly about the nature and benefits of a good night’s sleep. Check out my Page – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep? for more details.

Meanwhile, Harvard Health Publications, has some very useful information to add to the conversation.

“Even people without insomnia can have trouble getting a good night’s rest. Many things can interfere with restorative sleep – crazy work schedules, anxiety, trouble putting down the smartphone, even what you eat and drink.

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When you wake up in the morning, are you refreshed and ready to go, or groggy and grumpy? For many people, the second scenario is all too common. This report describes the latest in sleep research, including information about the numerous health conditions and medications that can interfere with normal sleep, as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications used to treat sleep disorders. Most importantly, you’ll learn what you can do to get the sleep you need for optimal health, safety, and well-being.

The following three simple steps can help you sleep better.

Cut down on caffeine

Caffeine drinkers may find it harder to fall asleep than people who don’t drink caffeine. Once they drift off, their sleep is shorter and lighter. For some, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night. That may be because caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter thought to promote sleep. Caffeine can also interrupt sleep by increasing the need to urinate during the night.

People who suffer from insomnia should avoid caffeine as much as possible, since its effects can endure for many hours. Because caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, irritability, and extreme fatigue, it may be easier to cut back gradually rather than go cold turkey. Those who can’t or don’t want to give up caffeine should avoid it after 2 p.m., or noon if they are especially caffeine-sensitive. Continue reading

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