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Coffee - Can Coffee Help Prevent Disease Through Its Antioxidants?

Connie Ragen Green
 


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Coffee, and the pros and cons of drinking it will continue to be a debate. Many people believe that coffee is safe and even beneficial when drank in moderation. Others feel strongly that coffee can be harmful, especially when drank by children. Who is right? The controversy over coffee and its effects may go on forever.

There are many groups who make it their full time job to study coffee. One group is the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. This institute is located in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. They study coffee and caffeine and how it may be beneficial or harmful to humans. They present their research findings in medical journals and at conferences, such as the one held in London called the World Coffee Conference.

They have released information that shows coffee to have a “significant presence of antioxidants". An antioxidant is any substance that reduces damage caused by oxygen in our bloodstream. This oxidation modifies chemical structures in our body and can lead to serious illness and disease in our bodies. If it can be proven that the hundreds of compounds found in coffee beans could actually be helpful in preventing disease then we would all be interested in drinking more coffee. More studies will need to be done before we will know for sure the full impact of this study.

Coffee is also linked with reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, the most common diabetes. About 170 million people have this disease and it is growing all over the world in epidemic proportions. The largest study of the connection of coffee with a reduction in risk of developing diabetes was conducted in Finland. The people of Finland consume more coffee than people anywhere in the world. This study in Finland involved more than 14,000 people. The risk of developing diabetes was shown to be reduced by drinking coffee – but only in people who drank at least 5-6 cups each day. It had to do with the chlorogenic acids found in coffee. These acids inhibit enzymes that form glucose in the small intestines.

Another concern with drinking large amounts of coffee is that the body may not be able to absorb enough calcium. Coffee is a diuretic so calcium and other necessary minerals are quickly eliminated from the body if you take in too much caffeine, whether it is from coffee or another source.

So what is the answer? Maybe coffee should be added to the list of things that we should do in moderation. It appears that both the positive and negative effects are only found in cases where an excessive amount of caffeine is consumed. So if you enjoy having a cup or two of coffee don’t let this information stop you. Always conduct your own research by seeing how your body reacts to foods and environmental conditions. You are the best judge of what you should be doing on a daily basis.

Connie Ragen Green is a motivational writer, speaker, and mentor. To find out more visit her at http://greenhouse.typepad.com/connie_ragen_green

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