Benefits of Coffee
Coffee plants contain polyphenolic compounds called flavonoids, which have anitoxidant properties important in disease protection. In addition to the compounds found naturally in raw beans, new research has found that additional substances with antioxidant activity are created during roasting (1).
(1). Nicoli, M.C. et al. Lebensmittel, Wissenschaft und Technologie, 30, 292-297, 1997; Singhara, A. et al., Presentation at the American Chemical Society national meeting, San Francisco, USA, April 1997.
A recent report by researchers at London's Goldsmith College found that caffeine actually moderates anxiety in those who are particularly susceptible. Subjects suffering from anxiety sensitivity suffered less negative responses to their condition after consuming coffee (1).
(1). Keogh, E. & Dillon, C. Anxiety Sensitivity, Caffeine and Interpretative Biases (Submitted).
Caffeine has long been known to help asthmatics and for many regular coffee consumption assists in moderating asthma attacks. Scientific studies have found that three or more cups of coffee per day significantly reduce the prevalence of asthma (1).
(1). Kivity, S. et al., Chest, 97, 1083-1085, 1990; Pagano, R. et al., Chest, 94, 387-389, 1988; Schwartz, J., A.E.P., 2, 627-635, 1992.
While it has long been thought that the use of caffeine during exercise might exacerbate dehydration, a recent study has demonstrated that caffeine in drinks taken before moderate exercise did not compromise hydration of the body (1). There is also evidence that caffeine can improve athletic performance in sports such as swimming, cycling, and tennis, and that habitual coffee drinkers perform better in a variety of cognitive performance tests, compared with non-coffee drinkers (2).
(1). Wemple, R.D. et al., International Journal of Sports Medicine, 18, 40-46, 1997.
(2). MacIntosh, B.R. and Wright, B.M., Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 20, 168-177, 1995; Pasman, W.J. et al., International Journal of Sports Medicine, 16, 225-230, 1995; Ferrauti, A. et al., Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 37, 258-66, 1997.
Cirrhosis of the Liver
Research has shown that consumption of coffee has a strong protective effect against cirrhosis of the liver (1). These studies show that drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day resulted in an 80 percent reduction in the risk for cirrhosis of the liver, compared with those who don't drink coffee at all.
(1). Klatsky and Armstrong, American Journal of Epidemiology, 136, 1248-57, 1992; Corrao et al, European Journal of Epidemiology, 10, 657-64, 1994; Sharp et al, Annals of Epidemiology, 9 (7), 391-393, 1999; Nakanishi et al, Individual Health, 38 (1), 99-102, January 2000.
There is strong evidence for a protective effect of coffee against the development of colon or colorectal cancers; one study found that the risk of colon cancer was reduced by drinking more than four cups of coffee a day, and that this dosage had no negative effect on the participants (1).
(1). World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans - Coffee, Tea, Mate, Methylxanthines and Methyglyoxal, 51, 1991; Jacobsen, B.K. et al., Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 76, 823-831, 1986; La Vecchia, C. et al., Cancer Research, 49, 1049-1051, 1989; La Vecchia, C. et al., International Journal of Cancer, 41, 492-498, 1988; Kato, I. et al., Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, 81, 1101-1108, 1990; Baron, J.A.et al., Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 3, 565-570, 1994; Tavani, A. et al., International Journal of Cancer, 73, 193-197, 1997.
Two studies have found a clear and significant association between coffee drinking and a lower risk of suicide, indicating that coffee drinking may decrease levels of depression (1).
(1). Klatsky, A.L. et al., Annals of Epidemiology, 3, 375-381, 1993; Kawachi, I. et al., Archives of Internal Medicine, 156, 521-525, 1996.
Drinking coffee helps prevent gallstone disease in men. A 10-year study found that men who drank two to three cups of regular, caffeinated coffee per day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing gallstone disease than men who did not drink regular coffee (1). This rose to a 45 percent lower risk for men who drank four or more cups of regular coffee per day.
(1). Leitzmann, M. F. et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 281 (22), 2106-2112, 1999.
Recent studies involving both men and women found no evidence for a link between coffee consumption and heart disease (1), and another study actually found a lower rate of heart disease among coffee consumers than non-consumers (2).
(1).Grobee, D.E. et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 323, 1026-1032, 1990; Willett, W.C. et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 275, 458-462, 1996
(2). Brown, C.A. et al., Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 47, 171-175, 1993.
Intakes of regular and decaffeinated coffee - as little as 8 oz. - decrease the risk of kidney stone formation in men and women more effectively than water, while greater intakes of apple and grapefruit juices are related to increased risk (1).
(1). Curhan, G.C. et al., American Journal of Epidemiology, 143, 240-247, 1996; Curhan, G.C. et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, 128, 534-540, 1998.
Caffeine is a mild stimulant, which acts on the central nervous system and increases metabolic rate. Consumption of caffeine equivalent to that found in a couple of cups of coffee has been shown to improve alertness and enhance concentration. Caffeine can increase the speed of rapid information processing by 10 percent (1), and a cup of regular coffee after lunch helps to counteract the normal post-lunch dip in the ability to sustain concentration, aiding alertness (2). Study results clearly demonstrate that caffeinated coffee has a beneficial effect on alertness and improved performance in a variety of tasks in both day and night work sessions (3), and may even remove the malaise (reduced alertness, slower psychomotor performance) associated with having the common cold (4).
(1). Hazenfratz, M. et al., Human Psychopharmacology, 6, 277-284, 1991. (2). Smith, A.P. et al., Neuropsychobiology, 23, 160-163, 1990. (3). Smith, A.P. et al., Neuropsychobiology, 27, 217-223, 1993. (4). Smith, A.P. et al., Journal of Psychopharmacology, 11 (4), 319-324, 1997.
Caffeine consumption leads to a temporary increase in the metabolic rate and the rate of fat breakdown (lipolysis), and may be of benefit in some weight loss programs (1).
(1). Holland, M.A. et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 34, 2291-2294, 1981; Acheson, J. et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 33, 989-997, 1980; Costill, D.L. et al., Medicine and Science in Sports, 10, 155-158, 1978; Astrup, A. et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51, 759-767, 1990; Dulloo, A.G., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49, 44-50, 1989.