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You might grab that last to-go cup of coffee because it will help you through the morning meeting but there might be longer lasting benefits of coffee. A coffee health study has indicated that drinking coffee might provide some protection against Parkinson's disease, at least in men. There is also a study that caffeine can offer protection against Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Sally Vater, speaking at a symposium, Coffee: Breaking News about Health, Fitness and Performance , said men who drank more than three cups of coffee per day showed reduced incidence of Parkinson's.
Women did not have the same results. Vater said postmenopausal women who take hormone supplements could cause for less dramatic results in women because of the interaction of caffeine and estrogen.
The reasons coffee could protect against Alzheimer's, she said, are coffee's antioxidant component and the fact that caffeine interacts with brain receptors.
Vater says that while data supports the idea that caffeine in coffee can help protect against the disease, it is not definitive.
The National Parkinson Foundation agreed that the study was not conclusive and that the protective effect should be studied further. The Alzheimer's Society said research suggesting protective powers has been conducted on a small sample and more research must be done.
The Organization of Teratology Information Services - a program, run by the Department of Health and Human Services - says low caffeine intake won't likely increase chances of having a miscarriage or a low birth weight baby. While there have been conflicting reports, many organizations say caffeine intake equivalent to one to two cups per day is okay.
OTS considers low intake to be 150 milligrams daily - or one to two cups of coffee.
A National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the University of Utah study released in 1999 says five or more cups of coffee a day could double the risk of miscarrying.
New mothers who breastfeed should also watch caffeine intake.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, caffeine can enter breast milk. A morning cup of coffee is not likely to harm a baby but too much can cause poor sleeping, nervousness, irritability, and poor feeding. The academy recommends decaffeinated coffee and tea and avoiding colas and carbonated drinks with added caffeine.
The International Food Information Council Foundation recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant talk to their health care provider about use of caffeine.
Following these guidelines doesn't have to feel like a sacrifice. According to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, a six-ounce cup of brewed coffee has 100-150 milligrams of caffeine, which fits into the recommendations. A brewed decaffeinated coffee has only three milligrams. Many of the company's best selling selections come in decaf, including French roast, vanilla cream, mocha nut fudge and more.
It is no surprise that caffeine issues an energy boost, but can drinking coffee improve your workout?
Canada's Defence Research and Development department has studied how people respond to exercise and found that the combination of caffeine and ephedrine could increase performance for as long as 45 minutes.
The Times Newspapers in England covered the phenomenon and said physiologists from the department “proved that caffeine improves time to exhaustion, increases heart rate and boosts oxygen consumption during exercise. However, people unaccustomed to drinking coffee receive the greatest benefit.”
Health benefits of coffee also include reduction of muscle pain in moderate-intensity workouts.
The Exercise Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published a study on how caffeine intake affected leg muscle pain in female cyclers and found that women who consumed any caffeine indicated they felt less muscle pain than women who took a placebo. Previous studies on men have also indicated caffeine can reduce muscle pain.
These studies were all done in control settings and there is a lack of evidence that caffeine is effective in the field. Iowa State University warns that while caffeine can reduce fatigue, it is a diuretic and promotes dehydration.
To enhance performance, they recommend consuming a cup of coffee or the equivalent amount of caffeine an hour before endurance exercise and larger amounts of caffeine are likely to be counterproductive.
The effects of coffee on health have been debated for decades but recent studies have shown health benefits for diabetics.
Harvard University researchers found that heavy coffee drinkers may be half as likely to get diabetes as light drinkers or nondrinkers.
According to a coffee health study published in the February 2006 issue of the Harvard Health Letter, coffee may contain chemicals that lower blood sugar. Drinking coffee might also increase the resting metabolism rate, which could help keep diabetes at bay.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital published similar findings in a January 2004 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In that study, researchers also found men who drank more than six cups of caffeinated coffee daily reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by more than 50 percent compared to men who didn't drink coffee. Women who drank six or more cups per day reduced the risk nearly 30 percent. Decaffeinated coffee was also beneficial, but its effects were weaker.
Researchers from University of California San Diego found a similar link between coffee and diabetes. Over an eight-year span, investigators found that former and current coffee drinkers were about 60 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes.
While studies are finding positive benefits, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters doesn't recommend drinking coffee as a tonic, The company said coffee drinkers should enjoy the beverage in moderation for the taste and how coffee makes you feel. If you have a concern about coffee, the company recommends talk to a physician. The effects of coffee on health have been debated for decades but recent studies have shown health benefits for diabetics.
If you have a compulsive need for coffee, have built up a tolerance to it and suffer from headaches or difficulty concentrating when you cut back or cut out your coffee consumption, you could have a coffee addiction.
Caffeine is a stimulant and it is the most widely used behaviorally active drug in the world, according to a study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Behavioral Biology Research Center . In North America, 80 percent to 90 percent of adults report regular use of caffeine and consume about one to two mugs of coffee or three to five bottles of soft drink per day.
Overuse of caffeine use can be associated with caffeine intoxication, caffeine withdrawal, caffeine dependence, caffeine-induced sleep disorder and caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, according to Johns Hopkins.
The John Hopkins School of Medicine set up a caffeine therapy program for people who have difficulty cutting back on their own. The program teaches participants to gradually reduce caffeine consumption over time by substituting decaffeinated or non-caffeinated products, Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, said. Using this a method allows people to reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms, he said.