Is Coffee a Healthy Mind Drug, a Drink, or a Heart Medication?

You drink it most mornings, but did you ever see it as a healthy medication instead of a morning pick-me-up?

Coffee, the almost-universal breakfast drink, has received negative and positive comments. Worldwide, 2.25B cups of coffee are consumed daily. For some, it’s a morning stimulant that gives a jolt to the brain and begins the day via its addictive ingredient, caffeine.

Caffeine is so potent that it is often an abused substance that can cause serious physical problems. People see the caffeine in coffee as the culprit and seek out decaffeinated coffee, not knowing it may have issues associated with it.

The process by which caffeine is removed from coffee is where the concern is directed. Some manufacturers use methylene chloride in the process, and this can cause a slowing down of the central nervous system and affect a person’s attention and hand-eye coordination. So decaffeinated coffee should receive attention.

New research is providing fascinating insights into coffee and its neuroprotective properties. Who thought that coffee would be able to protect our delicate nervous system? Most people believe it can cause unwanted hand tremors, which are an impediment in highly skilled professions such as surgery. I’ve heard that some surgeons refuse to drink coffee because they are afraid it will interfere with their surgical accuracy. That may be so, but it may be caused by an excessive caffeine intake, which must be considered. But there is potential for coffee that we cannot ignore.

Coffee to the Rescue?

The world's population is aging, and along with this comes a decrease in the number of children being born. The scales of the world economy are being tipped in a negative direction. Aging produces natural degeneration of neurons in the nervous system leading to disease and mental disorganization. These diseases are a prime target for research because of the number of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis, and dementia with Lewy body, to name a few.

Other diseases come under the neurodegenerative rubric, and these include Huntington’s disease and Machado Joseph disease. All of them can lead to infirmity, decrease in cognitive processes, failures in mobility, a growing burden on healthcare, and, ultimately, some end in death.

Could coffee and its components be a means of maintaining neurologic wellness or fending off some of these cruel illnesses and other non-neurodegenerative illnesses? It might well be the case, and the more research in that direction, the more discoveries are made that support coffee’s place in our lives.

If a simple beverage such as coffee could be found to provide an individual with a degree of protection from any of these diseases, it would be incredible, and that is exactly what we may be discovering now.

Studies Show Coffee’s Benefits

Roasted coffee beans have been discovered to have over 1,000 bioactive compounds. Scientists have indicated that there may be physiological effects having health benefits. Experimental studies show that coffee consumption reduces fat accumulation and collagen deposition in the liver and promotes antioxidant capacity through….several inflammatory mediators.

Where else might coffee compounds be protective? Some evidence points to coffee having a positive effect in protecting us from oral and pharyngeal cancers. But that’s not all the protection that coffee’s components have in store for java drinkers.

Growing evidence points to a possible dose-dependent relationship in individuals who have type 2 diabetes. Antioxidants and other of coffee’s chlorogenic acids are believed to be involved in this protection. Coffee has also been linked to positive outcomes in Alzheimer’s and prostate cancer, but there are some provisos. The study which points to these diseases used only plain black coffee and we know that most coffee drinkers might include sugar, a creamer, or milk in the product before drinking it.

Despite many advantages, coffee drinking may have, in the past the World Health Organization (1991) listed it as a carcinogen. WHO has now reversed its opinion and views coffee as having health benefits. The about-face decision occurred when further research uncovered the fact that two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with a reduced risk of heart failure; the same was not found in decaffeinated coffee.

A further study of 500K Europeans determined that coffee drinking was associated with a reduced risk for death from various causes. This relationship did not vary by country.

The bulk of research on coffee would appear to be that it is a positive beverage with multiple, as yet undiscovered, health advantages. Does this mean you should begin drinking coffee? The decision is your’s and not for me to make, but you might want to investigate further on your own.

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