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Coffee Keeps the Brain Young

Tuesday, 18 May 2010 05:15 PM

Many studies have shown that coffee does a lot more than perk you up. It lowers risk for diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, depression, and neurological and other disorders.
The brew contains antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients but caffeine, in particular, is good for the brain.
Caffeine prevents deterioration of memory and overall mental function as we age and protects against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, according to a collection of studies published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Coffee is one of our chief sources of caffeine. Soda is another one but despite its caffeine content, no one — not even the world’s brightest marketing minds — has been able to associate it with any health benefits. And despite its empty calories, soda doesn’t deliver all that much caffeine: less than half to one-quarter the amount in regular brewed coffee.
Many energy drinks also contain caffeine along with liberal amounts of sugar calories. Their caffeine content varies dramatically, ranging from two or three times that of coffee to a small fraction, and some contain no caffeine.

Isn’t Caffeine Bad?

Caffeine is a controversial substance. The expert jury is still somewhat hung on whether or not it’s truly addictive, contributes to bone loss (adding milk to coffee can counteract this potential problem), or is bad for the heart. However, the health impact of coffee is not quite as murky.
Quite a bit of research shows that, for most people, coffee is beneficial. As an example, several years ago, the Harvard School of Public Health teamed up with a medical school in Madrid to analyze 20 years of coffee-related data on more than 128,000 men and women who participated in the Framingham Heart Study. They found that filtered coffee (and any type of tea) did not increase risk for heart disease.
The “filtered” part is important because there are two substances in coffee (cafestol and kahweol) that may increase cholesterol. These remain in paper filters when coffee is brewed. Given that most coffee we drink in this country is filtered, this is good news.
Many people have been scared away from coffee by advice to “limit caffeine.” For anyone who finds caffeine induces jitters, a rapid heartbeat or insomnia, limiting or eliminating it makes sense. But for the rest of us, coffee offers health benefits and pleasure.

How Much Is Good?

Studies have found that somewhere between one and four 8-ounce cups daily is beneficial. However, in diabetes research, six cups daily lowered risk for the disease by 54 percent among men and by 30 percent among women, compared to abstainers.
The amount of caffeine per cup will vary, from around 100 to 200 milligrams, depending on the coffee bean, the roast (darker ones contain less caffeine), and the strength of the brew. Amounts of caffeine aren’t listed on food or beverage labels, but you can compare quantities of different brands on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s website.

© HealthDay

 
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Many studies have shown that coffee does a lot more than perk you up. It lowers risk for diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, depression, and other disorders. The brew contains antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients but caffeine, in particular, is good for the brain.
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2010-15-18
Tuesday, 18 May 2010 05:15 PM
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