The Cold Truth about Coffee

Every other day, a new study hits the coffee-drinking world by storm. “New benefits found for coffee drinkers.” “Coffee may cause problems later in life.” “Coffee boasts healing properties.” “Coffee may cause harm.”

DietIf you’ve found yourself jumping on and off and back on the coffee bandwagon, you can finally settle down. Well, maybe.

It’s Good

While coffee’s ability to get you up and ready to go is a nice perk, recent studies have found some bonafide health benefits for coffee. In fact, so many health benefits were found that WebMD asked, “Coffee: The New Health Food?” Parkinson’s disease, headaches, sadness, colon cancer, and even diabetes can be prevented or the risk reduced with coffee. At least that’s what recent research says.

How does it work? Good question. The easiest to explain is coffee’s ability to fight cancer. This is due to coffee being filled with antioxidants, which are known to prevent cancer. Just as interesting is a handful of studies have shown that regular coffee consumption may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by as much as 80 percent. This benefit is likely due to the high caffeine content in coffee, and the results are so convincing that researchers are looking to create a caffeine-based medication to treat Parkinson’s.

Still another study showed drinking coffee reduces the risk of diabetes. Granted, you’ve got to chug about six cups of coffee daily for a real benefit (about 50 percent risk reduction in men) and the research warrants additional study, but it looks like coffee may be just what the doctor ordered.

Once you wake up and smell the coffee, it’s hard to go back to sleep. – Fran Drescher

It’s Bad

Then again, there are some noteworthy dangers in making coffee your regular pick-me-up. Most of the problems with coffee are brought on by caffeine. As opposed to many other chemicals, compounds, vitamins, and minerals, your body doesn’t need caffeine to function. You may think otherwise, but you could get along fairly well without coffee.

If you drank a cup of coffee before hitting the hay last night, you may know about one of the problems with the caffeine-filled drink. It keeps you awake when you may want to sleep. On top of that, too much caffeine has been linked to nausea and vomiting, anxiety, excessive urination, restlessness, and even a fast heart rate.

It’s up to You

With so many impressive pros and unwanted cons, you may be wondering what to do. After all, if you drink enough of the hot goodness, you may greatly reduce your risk for conditions such as diabetes and Parkinson’s, but at the same time you’ll be increasing your need to go to the bathroom and may experience an increased heart rate. So should you start a coffee-drinking habit or put the coffee mug away for good? It’s a tricky question that only you and your physician can answer.

Three Other Debated Drinks

Fortunately, coffee isn’t the only liquid that’s gotten a good and then bad and then kind of good rap. Here is a list of three other drinks that have walked the fine line of fame and infamy in recent years.

Ginseng Tea – As America has turned its eye to Eastern medicine, we’ve also looked for drinks to go along with our acupuncture. Enter ginseng tea. While it may cure male impotence, too much can be a bad thing, causing insomnia, nausea, and diarrhea.

Red Wine – Long considered nothing more than a nice way to cap off the perfect meal, red wine stood front and center when research showed it may reduce the risk of heart disease. To get the benefit requires drinking a glass or so each day. Avoiding the potential risk of alcoholism requires self-control.

Milk – Does it do a body good or is it unnecessary? As people become more aware of the various ways to get calcium and vitamin D, the need for drinking cow milk seems to be diminishing. However, that doesn’t stop some from working to get their daily dose of the creamy white bone-building liquid.

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