Why Coffee Can Be Good for Liver, Heart, Kidneys...And Possibly Even Your Sex Life!
By Brian Mclver
IT'S the humble bean with a bad reputation. But coffee, the world's most popular drink, is becoming healthier every year.
The beverage, which has previously been regarded as unhealthy due to its caffeine content, is now being credited with being beneficial to the liver.
According to researchers in the US, drinking between one and four cups of coffee a day can drastically reduce the risk of cirrhosis - and is especially good at repairing the damage done by heavy drinking sessions.
Other recent health studies have shown that the drink can also benefit the heart, fight cancer, diabetes and Parkinson's.
The scientists at the Kaiser Permanente
division of research, in
Oakland, California, found that, in a study of 125,000 people, the risk of developing cirrhosis (a permanent scarring damage to the liver) was cut by 20 per cent in those who drank one cupof coffee a day.
But that figure rose to 80 per cent with four cups a
day, and general
blood tests showed healthier liver results in those who were coffee drinkers.
So, could coffee, once regarded only as a morning fix, be reborn as the most unlikely health drink?
Here are just some of the ways that coffee has been found to benefit the body in recent years.
WHILE coffee has been negatively
linked to heart disease in the past, with large quantities affecting heart
rhythms, a study at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee found that coffee drinkers
are less likely to suffer heart problems
than tea drinkers. While thatstudy was based on patient testimony
drinking, and not on laboratory scientific data, it has been proven that the antioxidants in coffee can mop up heart disease-causing free radicals.
THE anti-heart disease antioxidants are also
very effective at fighting and preventing cancer. They mop up the same free
radicals which can damage cells and lead to cancers, and coffee is one of
the best sources of antioxidants in the average daily diet.It is said to be
particularly effective in
preventing kidney cancer, liver cancer and colorectal cancers.
THE Harvard School of Public
Health found in research into gallstone
health that male coffee drinkers, taking two to three cups a day, had a 45 per cent lower risk of developing the condition and females a 40 per cent lower risk.
Gallstones are smallblobs of hardened matter which form out of liquid in the gall bladder, and can block intestinal tubes, causing painful and occasionally fatal damage. The same benefit that coffee gives was not noted in drinkers of other caffeine drinks like tea or cola.
A STUDY earlier this year at the Southwestern University in the
found that coffee stimulated the sex drive of female rats. The scientists believe the drink stimulated the arousal parts of the brain, but have not yet verified if the same effect would be true of human females.
STUDIES in the US have shown that coffee intake can be linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, although scientists in Finland were not able to ascertain which ingredient in the drink was the causal factor. Other research showed that coffee intake ledto reduced weight gain.
THE new report in California shows that regular intake of coffee, from one to four cups a day, can significantly improve the health of the liver, especially following boozing. The research in Oakland showed that cirrhosis scarring was much less evidentin coffee drinkers, meaning that the relative intake was related to the ability of the liver to regenerate itself.
THE best known symptom of drinking coffee is to help us be more alert. It has been found to aid concentration and awareness, and even to help relieve the sluggish symptoms of the common cold.
PARKINSON'S / ALZHEIMER'S
RESEARCH in the USA showed that those who drink coffee are much less likely to suffer from Parkinson's disease. The research team found that people who drink four or more cups a day are less likely to develop the condition.
There has also been a suggestion, although it has not yet been proved, that there is a link between coffee and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's.
The theory is based on the way that coffee can stimulate brain cells to absorb a material called choline, which is a brain chemical decimated by the disease.
Research to prove this and other potential benefits of coffee drinking are currently underway iacross the, world.
'Coffee could now be reborn as a health drink'