Contrary to popular beliefs, research findings have revealed that coffee consumption has many health benefits
| By Chinwe Okafor | Oct. 28, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
GOOD news for coffee lovers. Contrary to popular belief that coffee is harmful, research findings have shown that drinking the beverage has health benefits which had remained unknown. It has been discovered that coffee is good for the liver and can reduce the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver which has been linked to a reduced risk of hepatocellular carcimona, a primary liver cancer that usually arises in patients with pre-existing cirrhosis.
Coffee intake also reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus. Apart from this, coffee contains caffeine which increases the effectiveness of pain killers for migraine and headache. Coffee is also a powerful stimulant for peristalsis and is sometimes considered to prevent constipation. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine does not act as a diuretic when consumed in moderation and does not lead to dehydration or to a water-electrolyte imbalance. Current evidence suggests that caffeinated beverages contribute to the body’s daily fluid requirements.
Coffee is also good for the teeth. The tannins in coffee reduce the carcinogenic potential of food, thus reducing the occurrence of plaque formation. A recent study shows that roasted coffees contain more lipophilic antioxidants and chlorogenic acid lactones and are more protective against hydrogen peroxide induced cell death in primary neuronal cells than green coffee. Therefore, regular consumption of coffee leads to better formation of cells in the body. Also, its consumption is correlated to a reduced risk of oral, esophageal and pharyngeal cancer. It also reduces asthmatic attacks and helps fat people who want to shed weight.
Experts have continued to advice people on the health benefits of taking coffee. Bartholomew Brai, a nutritionist, at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Yaba, said that coffee is naturally rich in antioxidants, mainly polyphenols from the chlorogenic acid family. He said that for a moderate coffee consumer, coffee is the highest source of antioxidants from the diet and its beneficial health effect is due to the presence of anti-oxidants that protect the body against oxidation. “Normal modern life exposes humans to many sources of oxidation. An excess of oxidative stress may induce a deregulation of the metabolism. Antioxidants help fight free radicals and may protect our cells and tissues by turning harmful free radicals into neutral species by stimulating the production of our natural antioxidant defenses.
“So many researchers have showed that taking a cup of coffee first thing in the morning is one of the most popular ways of starting the day. The caffeine in that first cup of coffee could make one feel more alert and ready to face the challenges of the day. There is so much assumption and mystery around coffee such that many people are quite unaware of its health benefits and factors. Just like there is need to consume a recommended amount of every useful body nutrients, coffee should be consumed in moderation. If not abused, coffee has some health benefits which could be very helpful for the people,” he said.
Sade Alli, a cardiologist in Lagos, said that recent studies conducted by experts have indicated that coffee reduces the risk for coronary heart disease among moderate drinkers. He said the anti- oxidants in coffee have preventive properties that could protect moderate consumers against heart –related diseases. She noted that coffee intake had suffered a negative reputation because it contains caffeine which is found in other beverages including tea, cocoa, chocolate products, soft and energy drinks.
“Coffee has been shown to confer protective properties on its drinkers against cardiovascular diseases. In fact, it is the second most consumed beverage after water; if it was bad, it won’t be that popular all over the world. People are quick to condemn caffeine in coffee, not knowing that it is also contained in other drinks and drugs which they consider safe. So let’s not allow ignorance rob us of greater benefits,” Alli said. Kemi Odukoya, a public health physician and lecturer, said that modern research had shown that coffee contained anti-oxidants that help the body fight against the oxidation stress processes. She listed other health benefits associated with coffee intake to include: lower risk of alzheimer’s disease, stroke, parkinson’s disease, dementia, and increased mental alertness among others.
However, health practitioners generally advise that people should first of all study their body reactions to coffee before taking it in large quantity even though some studies suggest that it is good to drink three or more cups daily in order to get the benefits. Those who get jittery and weak after taking it should stop but if that morning cup makes you feel awake, alive and eager to greet the day, you might as well indulge in taking it moderately. Coffee is made from roasted coffee beans sourced from Ethiopia and was first introduced to the western culture but gained early prominence in the Arab world. It is now a foremost beverage worldwide.