Friday, January 24, 2014

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Coffee May Help Blood Vessels Work Better

By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY

A new study suggests caffeinated coffee may help small blood vessels work better.

Coffee may do more than wake you up. It may help your small blood vessels work better, a new study suggests.

But that doesn't mean you should guzzle gallons of java.

Previous research has shown that moderate coffee consumption may have some beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. However, the precise mechanism for this benefit is unknown, says Masato Tsutsui, one of the authors of the new research and a cardiologist and professor in the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.

Tsutsui and colleagues in Japan worked with 27 healthy adults, ages 22 to 30, who did not regularly drink coffee. On one day, each participant drank one 5-ounce cup of either regular caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. Then researchers measured reactive hyperemia in the participants' left index fingers. This is a measure of vascular function that takes into consideration how well small blood vessels function. Two days later, the researchers repeated the procedure with the other type of coffee.

Findings presented Wednesday at an American Heart Association meeting in Dallas:

• Those who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30% increase in vascular function in the index finger over a 75-minute period, compared with those who drank decaffeinated coffee.

• Caffeinated coffee slightly raised participants' blood pressure and decreased finger blood flow, compared with decaf.

• Heart rate levels were the same when participants drank decaf or regular coffee.

Tsutsui says that caffeine may improve blood vessels' function. "Our findings give us a clue about how coffee may improve cardiovascular health." The new study was funded in part by the All Japan Coffee Association.

However, cardiologist Vincent Bufalino, a spokesman for the heart association and senior vice president for the Advocate Cardiovascular Institute in Chicago, says "it's hard to come to broad-based scientific conclusions based on this one small study. The research is limited to one cup of coffee."

This subject needs further investigation, including looking at what happens when people drink more caffeine, he says.

"Small amounts of coffee may have a benefit, but a higher consumption of coffee definitely raises blood pressure. It definitely raises heart rate, and it makes you more prone to heart palpitations," Bufalino says. "We see that every day in terms of the use of caffeine in patients. A lot of people sense that a cup of coffee gives them a lift but too much can have negative effects."

A study released last year showed that regular, moderate coffee consumption may significantly reduce a person's risk of heart failure. It found that drinking the equivalent of two cups of coffee a day appears to have the most significant benefit on heart health, when compared with no coffee consumption, but that drinking excessive amounts of coffee — five to six commercial coffee house cups a day — may increase the chance of serious heart problems.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lessons From a Carrot, Egg, and Coffee Bean

by Michael Josephson on November 7, 2013
in Commentaries, The Good Life

Let’s face it. Painful personal trauma and tragedy – like illness or injury, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or an unexpected breakup of a relationship – are unavoidable. The question is: Will these private calamities erode our capacity to be happy or cause us to become stronger and better able to live a meaningful and fulfilling life?

Consider how differently carrots, eggs, and ground coffee beans are affected by the extreme adversity of being boiled. Like a carrot, adversity can soften us. We can emerge more flexible, understanding, compassionate, and grateful, or we can let our life spirit turn into a soft mush.

Like an egg, boiling water can make us harder, stronger, tougher, and wiser, or we can become more cynical, pessimistic, callous, and inaccessible.

And like a coffee bean, we can willingly transform our lives into something better or lose ourselves completely.

We can’t control what happens to us, but we have a lot to say about how we react and, therefore, what happens in us. The first step to turning adversity into advantage is to get out of the hot water as quickly as possible. Don’t dwell on catastrophe. Grieve, but move on. Don’t define your life by misfortune.

Second, force yourself to move forward. Draw on your inner strengths, the people who love you, and your faith to transform your life into something better. Formulate a vision of a more purposeful life filled with people and experiences that will help you become more fulfilled.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Coffee Cup That Can’t Tip Over?

  By Mike Roorda
Drinking coffee is a necessary and daily routine for most of us. I wander through a fog of sleep and confusion until I get my first sip of the dark go-juice we all know and love. Often times, while still under the influence of the previous night’s slumber, my dopey body decides to go rogue and knock things around. Sometimes that thing is my coffee mug, full of the very means of my delivery from the Sandman’s clutches. The only thing worse than having coffee and losing it, is never having coffee at all. Finally, someone somewhere is attempting to save awake and thinking me from my other early-morning self. A coffee cup that can’t tip over? Even if I whack it really hard? Or put it on the very edge of my desk, against the advice of my coworker, and perilously close to my cell phone? The Mighty Mug claims to deliver on that promise. Watch our video and decide for yourself whether or not their claims hold any water, or coffee, for that matter.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Coffee May Lower Suicide Risk by 50 Percent, Harvard Study Finds

A new study reveals that coffee may lower the suicide risk in both men and women by 50 percent. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health compared the risk of suicide for adults who drank two to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day with non-coffee drinkers, who consumed less coffee per day and those who chose decaffeinated. The study included more than 200,000 subjects observed during a 16-year period. Incidentally, Harvard researchers found back in 2011 that women who drank coffee showed a 15 percent reduced risk of having depression in comparison to non-coffee consumers.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

7 Reasons You Might Want to Go for Another Cup of Coffee


7 Reasons You Might Want to Go for Another Cup of Coffee-June 12, 2013   Steve Holt

Coffee sometimes gets a bad rap, but its potential health

benefits are reason enough to keep the beverage in your life.

Whether you call it java, joe, mud, or a cuppa, one hundred million of us drink coffee every day. Sixty percent of us say we have difficulty starting our day without coffee. It’s a $30 billion business here in the United States, and for good reason: Coffee drinkers love its taste (whether black or “light and sweet”), swear by its mind-sharpening attributes, and can attest to its addictive nature as well.

It’s this last feature—coffee’s addictiveness—perhaps, that causes people to try quitting the habit, switching to tea or some other substitute. But a growing body of health research suggests that we shouldn’t be cutting back on our coffee intake, but instead might consider adding a cup or two to our daily routine for added health benefits. (Really!)

“Coffee drinking has been associated with some positive health benefits, and we have not been able to find much wrong with drinking moderate amounts,” nutritionist Lisa R. Young, author of The Portion Teller Plan.

Something to always keep in mind, of course, is the origin of the coffee you’re drinking and the farming practices used in growing the beans. Look for labels indicating the coffee growers were given a fair price for their beans (this is not always the case) and that the beans were grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides.

Without further ado, here are some of the health benefits of coffee:

Last year, researchers primarily at the National Cancer Institute studied health information from more than 400,000 volunteers, ages 50-71, who were free of major diseases when the study began in 1995. By 2008, more than 50,000 of the participants had died. But here’s the crazy part: Men who reported drinking two or three cups of coffee a day were a full 10 percent less likely to have died than those who didn’t drink coffee, while women drinking the same amount were 13 percent less likely to have died during the study.

Coffee Drinkers Are Less Likely to Develop Diabetes

More than 15 published studies have linked coffee drinking to the prevention of type 2 diabetes, and in the scientific world, that makes the data pretty solid. In 2005, Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, a nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, and his team reviewed nine of these studies, finding that people who drink six or seven cups of coffee daily were 35 percent less likely to have type 2 diabetes than those who drank fewer than two cups a day.


Coffee May Fight Cancer

Coffee drinkers may be less susceptible to certain kinds of cancer as well. While there isn’t a cause-and-effect association, coffee consumption has been linked to lower occurrences of prostate cancer, oral cancer and breast cancer recurrence, and liver cirrhosis and cancer as well. While scientists aren’t certain how the likelihood of these cancers are lessened by drinking coffee, the connection is interesting indeed. And with cancer afflicting millions more humans every year, we’ll use every advantage we can get.

Coffee May Fight Parkinson’s Disease
Not only does coffee help lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but it also may lessen a person’s likelihood of developing it in the first place. It appears that caffeine is to thank for that. As early as 1968, studies were showing an inverse association between risk factors associated with Parkinson’s disease and coffee consumption. A 2010 review of all the available data showed that regularly drinking coffee, around two to three cups a day, cut the risk by as much as a quarter.

Coffee May Fight Dementia and Alzheimer’s

We know coffee sharpens our minds in the short-term, but what if it had a similar effect in the long-term as well? Apparently, it does. It may even prevent coffee drinkers from developing dementia, which affects 36 million people worldwide. In a 2012 experiment at the  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researchers studied mice who had lost the ability to form new memories after being temporarily starved of oxygen. Scientists gave half the mice a dose of caffeine that was the equivalent of several cups of coffee. These mice, the caffeinated ones, regained their ability to form new memories 33 percent faster than the uncaffeinated ones.

Coffee May Counter Heart Disease and Stroke

Coffee has been linked to a lower risk of heart rhythm disturbances—which have been shown to cause heart attacks and strokes—as well as strokes in women. In a Kaiser Permanente study, health plan members who reported drinking one to three cups of coffee per day were 20 percent less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, than nondrinkers—regardless of other risk factors. A 2009 study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study showed a 20 percent lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all.

Coffee Is Rich in Antioxidants

Researchers know that drinking coffee (especially freshly brewed coffee) leads to an increase in antioxidants in the body. When present in the bloodstream, antioxidants tend to build up the immune system and fight off sickness. However, it remains to be determined whether antioxidants from coffee enter the bloodstream when it is consumed and have this healing effect.