Coffee in the news!

Coffee is a stimulant with caffeine as the active ingredient. It acts by activating the central nervous system. It can counteract tiredness and improve concentration and focus. Caffeine has very many effects on the body apart from increasing mental alertness. It can also cause an increase in the heartrate, BP and can make you feel warm on a cold day Caffeinated drinks, especially coffee, teas (regular as well as green tea) energy drinks and colas are popular throughout the world and are drunk by people of nearly all age groups. Below are excerpts from a few articles about coffee that I have recently read online, which may be of interest to you. If so …….read on.

Daily coffee intake may benefit the heart

There used to be a time when coffee was believed to be harmful to the heart and was discouraged. But recently even people who have suffered a heart attack are not denied their daily cuppa. Even in those without heart disease, drinking coffee can increase the heart rate and some people worry that this could trigger off a heart attack or an arrhythmia (palpitations). Recently there was a publication by the American College of cardiology reporting that coffee intake specially 2-3 cups a day may actually be good for the heart. In the UK they has followed patients for a 10 year period They divided patients into groups according to the number of cups of coffee that they consumed. The groups were <1, 1 to 2 cups,2-3 cups, 4 to 5 cups and lastly 5 or more cups a day and they found that, those who had 2-3 cups of coffee a day had a 10 to 15% lower risk of developing heart disease (coronary heart disease), heart failure, heart rhythm problems and from dying from any cause. In another study done on people already having some kind of cardiovascular disease at baseline, 3 cups a day was associated with a lower risk of dying. So the take home message was that having 2-3 cups of coffee a day may actualy do you good in the long run.

Drinking 2 or more cups of coffee by patients with severe hypertension ups the mortality!
This article was published in the Journal of the American heart association reported from Japan found that when hypertensive people (defined as those with BP >160/100) who take 2 or more cups of coffee had a higher death rate. This is not seen in people who take less in 1 cup of coffee or people who had well controlled or NO severe hypertension.

High caffeine levels may lower body mass index, fat index and type 2 diabetes risks!
A study done from Sweden had shown that 2 gene variations results in genetically predicted lifelong higher caffeine concentration in the blood and this was associated with a lower body mass index, lower body fat mass and a lower risk for diabetes mellitus. 50% of the benefits in preventing diabetes comes from reduction of the body mass index or a body weight. Coffee has been known to be thermogenic. I.e. it increases the fat burn. The authors cautions that further studies need to be done before linking caffeine consumption with prevention of diabetes, i.e. it does not prove cause and effect relation between caffeine and and diabetes prevention.

Although there may seem to be many contradictions regarding the benefits of coffee in health , this may be due to different study populations, different methodologies and dfferent interpretations. It may be safe to conclude that coffee consumption is indeed safe. Despite coffee’s various effects on the body it may have some benfits to those driniking it. However, based on currently available evidence in medical literature, it probably cannot be recommended to non drinkers (of coffee) to improve their health at this point in time.