coffee beans 311.
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
Coffee is usually regarded as something tasty that – when one has to stay awake
for studying for exams or other urgent activity – keeps you awake. But the drink
has recently been found to produce a variety of other health benefits, according
to a survey article published in the latest issue of the Hebrew-language Israeli
Journal of Family Practice.
Prof. Yair Yodfat, a family medicine expert
at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and an adviser on hypertension
to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, writes that he is often asked by
patients whether coffee drinking can raise blood pressure.
that, based on recent studies, coffee and its caffeine – if consumed in moderate
amounts – not only don’t have a bad influence on existing disorders but can also
help prevent diseases or prevent those that exist from getting worse.
body can adapt itself to caffeine, he said, and for some people can even allow
them to fall asleep not long after having a cup.
A stimulant, caffeine
influences the release of a variety of neurotransmitters such as noradrenalin,
acetylcholine and dopamine. It causes certain blood vessels to expand and others
to constrict, while also to increase muscular ability.
It may ease some
headaches by increasing the blood flow to the brain.
Yet some people are
particularly sensitive to caffeine, which can cause them difficulty sleeping,
anxiety, nervousness, depression, stomach problems or a rapid
Anyone who has experienced such a reaction from drinking
coffee should stay away, he writes.
Consuming more than 600 milligrams of
caffeine a day – a cup of instant coffee has 40 to 104 mg., while an espresso
has 100 in a small cup and percolated coffee 80 to 135 – can cause upsetting
symptoms and should be avoided. Chocolate, tea and cola also contain
Studies have shown that moderate coffee drinking that begins
gradually and does not begin suddenly can raise blood pressure a bit but does
not speed up heartbeat, writes Yodfat.
The Iowa Women’s Health Study that
observed 23,000 menopausal women over 11 years found that those who drank more
than six cups of coffee (including caffeinefree) a day had a 22 percent lower
risk of contracting type 2 diabetes than those who did not drink
A meta-analysis of 18 studies with 500,000 participants showed
that every cup of coffee drunk a day reduced by 7% the risk of getting
It is believed the connection is an increase in the hormone
adiponectin, which is connected with insulin resistance.
showed there was no connection between coffee drinking and heart
strokes or sudden death. In addition, moderate coffee drinking has not
found to cause harm to pregnant women or their fetuses.
Coffee or tea
drinkers do not have a higher risk of breast, liver or colon cancer.
most of the studies cited were retrospective (looking back) rather than
prospective (following up people for years and observing changes due to
behaviors), Yodfat notes that more such studies should be carried out.
people to consult with their doctor before making dietary changes and to
excessive coffee drinking.