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        black coffee and beans   The Health Benefits of Coffee    
          February 10, 2010
Excerpted From The Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2009
We all subscribe to the old adage that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, here's a new maxim that has gained some traction. Drinking six cups of coffee a day just might keep advanced prostrate cancer away. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, scientific evidence continues to find a strong correlation between coffee consumption and certain health benefits.

Findings presented to members of The American Association for Cancer Research found that men who drink at least six cups a day have a 60% lower risk of developing advanced prostate cancer than those who avoid coffee altogether. And an analysis of longitudinal studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are 25% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who drink fewer than two cups. At least 18 studies have found that drinking three or more cups of coffee a day lowers the risk of diabetes. These findings become all the more compelling as similar studies yield comparable results, particularly among different populations.

Earlier studies have already linked coffee consumption to a lower risk of colon, mouth, throat, esophageal, and endometrial cancers. Evidence also suggests that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop gallstones, cavities, cirrhosis of the liver, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

In both the prostate and diabetes studies, health benefits were found for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, suggesting that some other component in coffee is responsible. Although coffee is best known for its caffeine content, it contains more chemical properties (over 800) than any other beverage. Some of these are believed to possess antioxidant properties that may protect against cell damage and inflammation that can be precursors to cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Despite the benefits, coffee appears to pose some health risk for certain groups of people. Those who suffer from high blood pressure, are pregnant, or experience trouble sleeping should be wary of the amount of caffeinated coffee they drink. Yet some coffee drinkers can take steps to reduce the risk and still enjoy their favorite cup of joe. Caffeine lowers bone density in women, but adding milk can help to ward off osteoporosis. Avoiding coffee after 3 p.m. can avert insomnia. And opting for decaf coffee can curb the adverse effects of caffeine. However, some coffeemost notably decafhas been shown to raise LDL, the bad form of cholesterol.

The chart below highlights some of the latest findings:


health benefits chart
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