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Coffee and Health

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“Coffee will stunt your growth!” We have likely all heard that one. As kids I remember the house filling with the delicious aroma of coffee being boiled in a percolator and watching Dad savor his hot cup of coffee. The truth is that coffee would not have stunted our growth unless you consider that our increased hyperactivity would have caused Mom to beat the life out of us, thus ceasing any possibility of further growth.

Much of the misinformation about coffee being bad came from early studies that only looked at coffee consumption without considering preexisting high-risk factors such as diet, physical activity levels, stress, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Current research has negated
virtually all those early findings and has shown that the benefits of coffee are many.

We are all well aware of the beneficial effects of caffeine, particularly first thing in the morning. Starting the day with a small amount of caffeine can sharpen  focus and aid in concentration.

Caffeine also helps in the treatment of headaches. If you read the labels of many over-the-counter pain relievers you will find that caffeine is one of the active ingredients. It makes pain relievers more effective as well as speeding their delivery. But many people report that just a cup of coffee or two can help relieve a headache or other pain on its own.

But there is a lot of evidence through modern research that indicates that coffee has benefits including:

– The potential effect on type 2 diabetes risk. Type 2 diabetes makes heart disease and stroke more likely. Coffee may counter several risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
– High coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
– Higher consumption of caffeinated coffee is associated with decreased risk of Parkinson’s. Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
– Lower risks for heart rhythm disturbances (a risk factor of heart attack and stroke) in men and women.
– Studies have shown a benefit of coffee on the prevention of diabetes. Evidence indicates that  decaffeinated coffee may have this same benefit as regular coffee.
– Improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression.
Most studies find an association between coffee consumption and
decreased overall mortality.

Consuming multiple pots of coffee every day can lead to serious problems including digestive problems, and in the case of unfiltered coffee, higher cholesterol levels. If you are a heavy caffeinated-coffee drinker (and/or other caffeinated products), and you stop consuming coffee
suddenly, the withdrawal symptoms can include:
– Headache
– Fatigue, drowsiness, or loss of energy
– Irritability
– Anxiety or depression
– Nausea and/or vomiting
– Decreased ability to concentrate or perform mental tasks

Moderate coffee drinkers don’t have to worry about that. So as Mom told you, everything in moderation.

But one thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to what your body tells you. If coffee affects you in some negative way, seek advice from a medical professional.

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