This post (and one to follow - you'll see when it happens) are dedicated to my friend Jeremy, aka the Trimethyldioxypurist. His blog is very cryptic lately, but his SFist articles are not, and if you want to know about coffee and/or Top Chef, he is your man.
So I think it will be gratifying to him to know, and it certainly is a relief for me to know, that of all my bad habits, coffee may not actually be that bad, as Food Technology magazine reports in its January issue. No, I do not read Food Technology magazine, jeez. But I do listen to the "Science Talk" podcast (I told you I was a nerd). And Roger A. Clemens, who co-wrote the magazine article was interviewed about coffee.
It seems that after 30 years of studies, the preponderance of evidence suggests that moderate coffee consumption, which is defined as 3-5 cups per day, can reduce your risk of certain diseases, in particular:
- Type 2 Diabetes: Now I know all of my readers are responsible eaters, but the fact remains that more of us are having to cope with adult onset diabetes. And it's not just things like eating processed foods that can cause it, but hormonal imbalances and any number of environmental factors that inhibit the body's ability to process glucose. Consumption of 3-6 cups per day, and up to 10 cups per day showed dramatic decreases in adult onset diabetes, with lesser effects for lesser amounts of coffee consumed. In the case of diabetes, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee showed benefits, which was attributed to the presence in both of antioxidants, lignans and magnesium.
- Cancer: Both naturally occurring and heat-produced antioxidants can cause a reduced risk of cancer in coffee drinkers and in many countries coffee is the number one source of dietary antioxidants.
- Liver Disease: Studies have also shown that phenolics (aromatic compounds similar to alcohol) and related compounds reduce the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis and liver disease.
- Parkinson's Disease: Studies also link the neuroprotective effect of caffeine consumption in men and post-menopausal women with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Studies suggest that just one cup of coffee per day can half your risk of developing this disease. Caffeine may be a mechanism by which brain cells are protected and conserved from the disease.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Some previous studies have suggested an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in those with high coffee consumption. A recent and comprehensive 20 year study shows no evidence that coffee increases the risk of heart disease.
- Other Beneficial Effects: Studies have also shown that coffee increases mental alertness, cognitive functions, wakefulness and physical stamina, and reduces the risk of Alzheimer's, kidney stones, gall stones, depression and suicide.
So I guess I'm going to keep on drinking coffee, adrenals be damned. I really want to not have diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's liver disease, etc.