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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

article : Coffee, Plant Medicine (6)

Botanical Name: Coffea arabica

Common Name: Coffee

Coffee, Good For You!

By Chris Kilham

The verdict is in on coffee. Numerous studies show that this vastly popular stimulating beverage offers significant benefits to mind and body. Coffee’s stimulating effects are due to its caffeine content. An analysis of caffeine studies performed at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research concluded that at around 300 milligrams per day, caffeine improves mood, vigilance, alertness and an overall sense of well being. This translates into two or three average strength cups of coffee per day. If you are among those who do not tolerate caffeine, then avoid coffee, tea or colas.

Coffee stimulates the flow of blood in the brain, and invigorates the mind. It enhances alertness and motivation, facilitates thought formation and concentration, and decreases mental fatigue. Within the daily dosage range of 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, coffee increases general happiness and feelings of pleasure, and increases positive mood overall.

Coffee drinking even appears to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Coffee drinkers have between 3 to 6 times lower risk of developing Parkinson’s as compared with non-coffee drinkers.

Coffee is rich in antioxidant polyphenols, which protect against cardiovascular disease by reducing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.. By this means, coffee helps to protect against atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. Major epidemiological studies show no correlation between coffee consumption and high blood pressure. While excessive coffee intake may set the heart fluttering, moderate coffee consumption does not cause irregular or rapid heartbeat.

Coffee stimulates digestive activity, and the morning cup of coffee stimulates intestinal elimination. Drinking two to three cups of coffee daily can reduce the risk of developing gallstones by as much as 40%. And daily intake of 3 to 4 cups of coffee can reduce the risk of cirrhosis of the liver by as much as 80%. Even more impressively, coffee exhibits a protective effect against colon and rectal cancers, reducing the risk by as much as 24%.

Several major studies have failed to show any link between coffee consumption and prostate cancer, breast cancer or bladder cancer. Nor has any link been found between coffee consumption and fibrocystic breast disease. Coffee consumption is not known to increase the risk of any type of cancer.

One study found that women who consume more than 817 milligrams of caffeine per day are at three times greater risk of hip fractures than women who consume no caffeine. But other studies show that moderate consumption of coffee is not associated with bone loss, increased risk of osteoporosis, or any higher rates of bone fractures.

Concerning fertility and healthy pregnancy, there is no evidence of increased risk of miscarriage as a result of moderate coffee consumption, nor any known association with either delayed fetal growth or increased rates of birth defects.

Athletes gain additional benefits from drinking coffee. Human clinical studies show that caffeine enhances the body's ability to utilize body fat for exercise, and increases the body's ability to work out before fatigue. A cup of coffee before working out can do you good, enhancing both performance and endurance.

Recommended Coffee Product

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