Many of us use coffee to help us to get going in a morning, or to add a little zing to a flagging workday. But recent research reveals psychological effects that go far beyond boosting alertness, and not all of them are good, according to the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Research published last year also expanded the already substantial list of benefits reported for visual processing. The team found that caffeine improved people’s ability to detect moving targets— which could mean reacting more quickly to anything from a pedestrian stepping onto the road to a football hurtling your way during a game of five-a-side.
The ‘down’ side
Beware of drinking coffee before going shopping because this can encourage impulse-buying, according to research published earlier this year. The team found that people who drank just one espresso before going into a shop spent a staggering 50% more money inside than others who’d had a decaf coffee or a drink of water. They were also more likely specifically to go for ‘high hedonic’ items, such as buttery foods or relaxing products, rather than useful things. Why? The caffeine-drinkers reported feeling more excited (due, no doubt, to a misperception of a caffeine-induced faster heart rate as ‘excitement’), and when we are excited, we tend to be more impulsive.
“In this large, observational study, ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee were associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” said study author Professor Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. “The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”
There is little information on the impact of different coffee preparations on heart health and survival. This study examined the associations between types of coffee and incident arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease and death using data from the UK Biobank, which recruited adults between 40 and 69 years of age. Cardiovascular disease was comprised of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and ischaemic stroke.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I must admit that I love drinking coffee, particularly lattes and cappuccinos. Until I got my own machine, I have had a hard time passing up a Starbucks. However, while I put sugar into my drinks, that is the extent of my ‘add ons.’ I am fully aware of how calorie-heavy some of the amped up coffee drinks can be.
One order, for example – which already featured syrupy caramel blended with coffee and topped with caramel sugar – had a laundry list of add-ons that included extra caramel drizzle, whipped and heavy cream, cinnamon syrup and seven pumps of dark caramel.
Now, nutrition experts are hoping to have their say about the consequences of this syrup-pumping, cream-swapping fad: “It makes me cringe,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York. “It’s a bad habit to start, that’s for sure.”
For starters, St-Onge said, customers should use caution when they order coffee drinks, tea or other popular, sugary beverages straight from the menu at their favorite establishments because they already may contain empty calories. The ingredient substitutions and add-ons can only make matters worse.
Coffee is now the world’s most popular drink, with around two billion cups consumed every day. In the U.S. about half of the people aged 18 and over drink coffee every day, while in the U.K., according to the British Coffee Association, 80% of households buy instant coffee for in-home consumption.
A strong, black coffee to wake you up after a bad night’s sleep could impair control of blood sugar levels, according to a new study.
Research from the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism at the University of Bath (UK) looked at the effect of broken sleep and morning coffee across a range of different metabolic markers.
Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition the scientists show that while one night of poor sleep has limited impact on our metabolism, drinking coffee as a way to perk you up from a slumber can have a negative effect on blood glucose (sugar) control.
The body starts to respond to healthy dietary changes as soon as they are made. This can be advantageous, because a diet can then eventually reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, as well as improve a person’s overall sense of well being.
Control of blood glucose level
Eating carbohydrates increases the blood sugar level, but the extent of this rise depends on a food’s glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking system, based on a score of 1 to 100, that determines the effect of a food on blood sugar levels.
Apparently, Saturday, September 29 was National Coffee Day. I missed it.
I’ve touted the benefits of coffee and caffeine in past articles and blog posts (Please see Coffee, Caffeine, and Exercise, among others). Here’s an informative article from The Ladders’ Meredith Lepore. Read it with your daily cup of java.
It seems like every day there is a new study telling us either that coffee is slowly killing us, making us healthier, making us smarter, making us dumber, helping us grow wings, etc., However there are a number of studies that have come out recently that reveal some very interesting facts about your daily cup of joe. In honor of National Coffee Day, this Saturday, check out these 7 facts about coffee.
It can make everyone you work with so much more appealing
A recent study that appears in the Journal of Psychopharmacology finds that if you have coffee…
Lots of people drink coffee not quite as many, I reckon, are involved with cannabis on some level. So, how do they interact in us? Here is a fascinating study on just that subject.
It’s well known that a morning cup of joe jolts you awake. But scientists have discovered coffee affects your metabolism in dozens of other ways, including your metabolism of steroids and the neurotransmitters typically linked to cannabis, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine.
In a study of coffee consumption published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, Northwestern scientists were surprised to discover coffee changed many more metabolites in the blood than previously known. Metabolites are chemicals in the blood that change after we eat and drink or for a variety of other reasons.
The neurotransmitters related to the endocannabinoid system — the same ones affected by cannabis — decreased after drinking four to eight cups of coffee in a day. That’s the opposite of what occurs after someone uses cannabis. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that deliver messages between nerve cells. Continue reading →
I love my morning coffee. I also love a cup of cappuccino after dinner when dining out, so, clearly I have a dog in this fight.
Scientists have found that people who drink coffee appear to live longer.
Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites.
People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day—18 percent reduced chance of death.
Lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, said Veronica W. Setiawan, lead author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Continue reading →
Drinking three to five cups a day linked to lower risk of arterial plaque.
I enjoy coffee and have some every morning. I drink decaf because I don’t like to introduce unhealthy chemicals like caffeine into my system. That’s just me. I am not trying to proselytize here, just get the facts down, because the latest from the Tufts Health Letter interested me as a coffee drinker and blogger who covers health.
“Scientists may now better understand at least one way in which coffee could help to protect against cardiovascular disease. A large new Korean study reports that people drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 41% less likely to show signs of coronary artery calcium than non-coffee drinkers. This calcification is an early indicator of the artery-clogging plaques (atherosclerosis) that cause coronary artery disease, which afflicts nearly 16 million Americans. Continue reading →
Thought you might be interested in this. Seems most of us have a beverage of choice first thing on arising.
When I worked in the Reuter newsroom on Fleet Street, I was surprised that most of my British fellow journalists drank coffee while I, the resident Yank, was thrilled to discover English tea with milk in it.
The latest Harvard Health Letter offers some fascinating insights into our morning brew.
“Coffee is part of many people’s daily routine, whether it’s the morning pick-me-up or the evening complement to a satisfying dinner. And it’s no wonder: a hot cup of brew is comforting and flavorful. Even better, new evidence continues to associate coffee with health benefits, such as a reduced risk of an early death, as we reported to you in February 2016.
“Our understanding of coffee is evolving. We’re learning more about it all the time,” says Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“Coffee comes from the seeds (or beans) of cherries that grow on the coffee tree. When you pour hot water over dried, roasted, ground coffee beans, you get the savory brown brew that so many people—54% of those 18 and older in the United States—drink daily. Continue reading →
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.
There are a number of conversational ’third rails’ like, religion, politics, labor unions, etc., and I usually sidestep them. I wouldn’t be surprised if coffee is another. So, let me say up front, I am not trying to change anyone’s coffee drinking habits. I just wanted to tell you about my own.
Now I would like to tell you about BOD’s BodyBrew a new cold brewing coffee system that I backed.
For the record, the extent of my ‘backing’ of this product was under $100 and my ‘reward’ limited to one of the coffee makers. I am not trying to sell you one and I get no royalties or further payments from BOD. That’s how crowdfunding works.
So, what is cold brewed coffee? It is coffee brewed by substituting time for heat. In other words, you pour cold water over it and come back 12-24 hours later and you have a batch of coffee liquor with which to brew coffee.
The nourishing gourmet says, “You leave coffee in water for 12 hours or more, and then you strain it. You now have a coffee concentrate that will last at least a week. What more can you ask for?
I am a coffee drinker in moderation, so I only worry about the effects of caffeine on me. I have heard horror stories of ‘caffeine headaches’ that die hard coffee drinkers get. So I pretty much limit myself to decaf. I was happy to learn the latest from Harvard on coffee drinking.
People who drink about three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink or drink less coffee, according to a new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers and colleagues. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, and suicide.
“Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” said first author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition. “That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”