Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Coffee is good for you, a study says

Coffee drinkers may be rejoicing after new research suggested that coffee may reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease. Dr Gary Arendash of the University of Florida showed that coffee not only helped reverse symptoms in mice but also staved off production in the brain of abnormal protein plaques, which are the hallmark of Alzheimer's.

In the UK the Alzheimer's Society is anxious not to suggest that everyone develop a caffeine habit but says that if further research confirms its benefits, coffee could become part of a lifestyle prevention plan for the disease.

It is not the first time that research has shown coffee to be a health benefit. Last year a study showed that consumption of the caffeinated drink, even lin large amounts, may even help one live longer.

Coffee drinkers in that study had slightly lower death rates than non-coffee drinkers over time, whether their drink of choice had caffeine or not. However, while the findings did not prove that coffee is protective, they strongly suggested that drinking coffee in large amounts was not harmful if you are healthy. Researcher Esther Lopez-Garcia, Ph.D., of the University of Madrid, told WebMD that among women, drinking two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with an 18 percent reduction in death from all causes, while drinking four to five cups was associated with a 26 percent reduction in risk. The risk reduction in men was smaller and could have been due to chance.

"We can't say from this one study that coffee extends your life, but it does appear that it doesn't increase the risk for death for people who are healthy," she said.There have been several studies on the health benefits for coffee with some linking regular consumption to a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even health conditions like Parkinson's disease and colon cancer.

But there are others who suggest drinking caffeinated coffee increased the risk of a heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease. The American Heart Association says much of the evidence is conflicting. Coffee appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, cirrhosis of the liver and gout, but increases the risk of acid reflux and associated diseases.

Other studies have linked the drinking of coffee with higher cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, though these risks are more associated with the caffeine content.

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