One of the stories regarding the origin of coffee tells us that a monk told the sheepherder who discovered the coffee cherries that coffee is the devil’s fruit. The monk even went so far as to forbid the sheepherder from touching the shrubs again. Considering the many health benefits that the researchers of today have identified in coffee, please give us more of this forbidden fruit.
The millions of people around the world who buy and consume coffee do so for many different reasons. Some need the caffeine jolt, others do so simply because of the taste especially in gourmet type coffees, and still for some, it is both a habit and a ritual. Yet in its centuries of history and tradition, it is only in recent years that people are beginning to realize coffee’s health benefits.
Moderate consumption is the key, and this means about two to three cups of coffee a day. The recognized benefits are that coffee helps:
- increase alertness and fight fatigue
- reduce the risk of colon cancer
- reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease
- reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
However a recent article found in the WebMD tells us that a Harvard study concludes that having six cups or more of your favorite java reduced the risk of diabetes by 54% in men and 30% in women. But the researchers themselves advise that the findings should be taken with a grain of salt. The effect of caffeine differs from one person to another due mainly to how it is absorbed by one’s system.
Another researcher from Vanderbilt University tells the same website that their studies have shown that the reduction in the risk of Parkinson’s disease is directly related to higher caffeine content. The researcher further adds that Parkinson’s drugs are now being developed that contain a derivative of caffeine based on the evidence taken from their studies.
And then there are is the fact that coffee contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are found naturally in fruits and vegetables and help fight free radicals in the body. Normal body functions produce these free radicals which in turn cause cellular damage that results in the risk of cancer. It has been proven that in terms of drinks, coffee contains the highest amount of antioxidants, four times more than tea. One of the antioxidants found in coffee is chlorogenic acid which contributes to insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, thus fighting diabetes.
It is quite clear at this point that the health benefits from your favorite cup of java are many. But taking advantage of them is not necessarily automatic. One should ask themselves whether their body can tolerate six cups of coffee a day as suggested by the study cited above.
In excessive doses, caffeine can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and heart palpitation. Pregnant women and heart patients are also advised to stay away from coffee. For most healthy individuals, studies have shown no adverse affects. The bottom line is that it is always good to do things in moderation.