More Evidence Coffee is Good for Us

coffee cup and beansThey say you can prove anything with statistics, and there’s probably a survey or study out there to support just about anything, so it’s no wonder it’s hard to know what to do sometimes. Given our propensity to believe the worst, and indeed the reality that many things we enjoy are bad for us, it’s also no wonder we have a hard time believing enjoyable things like wine or coffee can actually be good for us? Too good to be true and all that.

But as more research surfaces, and from many independent sources, it becomes easier to believe. Very little is ever 100% certain. With caution and common sense as our allies, we have to believe and trust at some point, or I think we deny ourselves too much. Kind of defeats the purpose of all this careful living if we in effect stop living, censoring out too much.

So with increased confidence that coffee really is good for us, I’m happy to pass on links to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and their report, “Therapeutic Opportunities for Caffeine in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases.” It’s not based on just one study, but a collection of original studies by different international experts who looked into the effects of caffeine on the brain. Strength, and hopefully greater credibility, in numbers, especially independent ones. Different studies approached the subject from different perspectives ranging from “molecular targets of caffeine, neurophysiological modifications and adaptations, to the potential mechanisms underlying the behavioral and neuroprotective actions of caffeine in distinct brain pathologies.”

The full report on all these studies is available in both PDF or HTML.

There’s also a full listing of IOC Press articles on coffee/caffeine

Summary of their findings that were corroborated by the different studies:

• Caffeine has a positive effect on cognition, memory performance, and the ability to complete complex tasks.

• Multiple beneficial effects of caffeine to prevent motor deficits, normalize brain function, and prevent its degeneration.

• An inverse association between the chronic consumption of caffeine and the incidence of Parkinson’s disease, meaning it looks like caffeine protects against Parkinson’s.

• Chronic caffeine administration prevented memory deterioration and neurodegeneration associated with aging and of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other studies have also shown that in addition to the more expected improved “sense of well-being, happiness, energy, alertness and sociability,” caffeine also enhances aerobic endurance or stamina, can lead to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, and just like that red wine, has a ton of antioxidants. More antioxidants in fact than any other food or drink we tend to consume. For example, there are 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants in our average 1.64 daily cups of coffee, while tea comes in second with only 294 milligrams. The per serving amounts drop steadily from there, banana comes in at 76 milligrams, dry beans at 72 milligrams, and corn in 5th place with just 48 milligrams.

How rare and wonderful that evidence from so many independent sources is confirming what our noses and taste buds have known all along, and our hearts have wished for. Coffee is good. So if the coffee continues to do its job, I plan to both address and belie some commons concerns on the con side of coffee consumption. So cheers, salut, skald…there needs to be a toast for raising a cup of coffee…is there one? Should we create one if there’s not? Something to brew about over that cup of coffee…

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