Tag Archives: drinks

Coffee Causes Cancer…No!

coffee

Around one in 10 British adults mistakenly think coffee causes cancer,so says a survey carried out by the World Cancer Research Fund (see here). Nothing can be  further from the truth – repeat, drinking coffee does not cause cancer. In fact, the benefits of coffee have been largely understated. Among the benefits include:

1. It contains powerful anti-oxidants, like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins (especially in roasted coffee beans), both of which confer proven health benefits.

2.Reducing the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Read “A Cup of Coffee a Day will Keep Alzheimer’s Away”.

3.Protecting against diabetes. Moderate consumption  may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.

4.Preventing liver disease and the formation of liver and kidney stones.

5. Promoting alertness, attentiveness, and wakefulness.

But its not all good and no bad. Drinking excessive amounts (more than four cups a day) has been shown to accelerate osteoporosis as well as increase blood pressure, palpitations and even increase the risk of hardening of the arteries (a process called atherosclerosis). In some, coffee can cause heartburn, or GERD(gastro -esophageal reflux disease).

An important point to note is that there seems to be a health hazard in drinking unfiltered coffee (as in Turkish coffee and kahawa) as it raises blood cholesterol. Filtered coffee, as in instant coffee, does not do so, as diterpenes, responsible for raising cholesterol, are removed by filtration.

What about heart disease? The verdict’s not in just yet..on one hand, diterpenes cause a rise in cholesterol and homocysteine but this seems balanced by the beneficial anti-oxidant properties. As of now, there is no convincing evidence that coffee leads to heart disease.

latte

Latte, a combination of coffee,steamed milk and sugar) can set you back by 260 calories per cup.

Bear in mind that this discussion is based on just pure plain coffee. The scenario changes quite a bit with additives like milk, cream and sugar. For one thing, a cup of latte at Starbucks can contribute about 260 calories (as opposed to 0 calories in plain coffee). This is not to mention the health risks of added fats (and cholesterol) and sugar.

Alcohol, Sex…and Fruitflies

Spotted recently – scientists are gathering evidence that sexual frustration drives males to drink. To be honest, this is nothing new – just drop in to any bar or pub and one can gather a lot of evidence of heart-broken guys drowning pint after pint of the stuff.

Male Fruit flies - sex and alcohol don't mix

The latest issue of the journal Science not only provides further evidence of the same, it even tells why sexually-frustrated males(flies, that is) are driven to drink. And the publication even suggests that male humans might behave in the same manner!

The answer lies in a brain chemical – neuropeptide F – which was found higher in male fruit flies who had mated than comrades who didn’t have sex. Those who didn’t get it preferred foods that had a high content of alcohol.

Neuropeptide Y - depleted amounts in the brain are believed to drive one to drink alcohol

Human brains have a similar chemical (neuropeptide y) which may react in a similar way, according to scientists. Work is ongoing to prove this hypothesis. Assuming this is proven true, the next thing scientists will have to prove is: what do teetotallers do?

Viagra Coffee – Keeps You Up All Night?

In times of recession, business entities have got to be innovative, so who can fault those guys responsible for mixing two aphrodisaics (one established and one speculative) and marketing them as a sure-cure for flagging poles! 🙂

Malaysian health authorities had seized several shipments of coffee mixed with viagra and sold in sachets and promising to perk up, in more ways than one, drinkers (see here). The brands that were pulled from store shelves included Kopi Pahlawan, Coffee Hari2-mau Power X2, Jamu Tenaga Lelaki, Bio Trim BTB and Kopi Tenaga Tok Lebai Plus. Just to give an extra fillip to consumers, there were 3 brands which not only contained sildenafil, but also had added tadalafil (Cialis). Talk about great marketing!

If anything, these coffee merchants, though innovative, were not original in their ideas; as the Simpsons were the first to moot this idea:

Just in case you didn’t know, its dangerous to drink this coffee as sildenafil, the active ingredient of Viagra, can cause low blood pressure and fast heart-beats (which is also caused by the caffeine in coffee), can can lead susceptible persons to a heart-attack.

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Losing Sleep Over Coffee

Some patients asked recently whether coffee was good for one’s health. Part of the recent upsurge in interest in the health benefits of this beverage has been the shift in marketing strategy by coffee-makers locally in promoting it as a rich source of anti-oxidants.

coffeePour

Plain Black Coffee - rich in antioxidants and with zero calories

Yes, coffee is a rich source of anti-oxidants, like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins, the latter being the most important component of roasted coffee. Some of the other beneficial effect of drinking coffee include:

  1. Reducing the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Read “A Cup of Coffee a Day will Keep Alzheimer’s Away”.
  2. Protecting against diabetes. Moderate consumption  may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
  3. Preventing liver disease and the formation of liver and kidney stones.
  4. The beneficial effects of caffeine in coffee on alertness, attentiveness, and wakefulness.

And the bad news? Among other things:

  1. Unfiltered coffee (as in Turkish coffee and kahawa) raises blood cholesterol. Filtered coffee, as in instant coffee, does not do so as diterpenes, responsible for raising cholesterol, are removed by filtration.
  2. Coffee consumption is also associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
  3. Caffeine in coffee can increase the risk of elevated blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, as well as palpitations.
  4. 4 cups or more will hasten osteoporosis, especially in those with low calcium intake in the diet.
  5. Coffee increases heartburn, aka gastro-eosophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What about heart disease? The verdict’s not in just yet..on one hand, diterpenes cause a rise in cholesterol and homocysteine but this seems balanced by the beneficial anti-oxidant properties.

I ought to clarify here that we are talking about coffee, just coffee. The pendulum swings the other way when we consume coffee with additives like milk and sugar. The latte at the local Starbucks will add on quite a substantial amount of fats, sugars and calories (260 to be precise, see here). Compare that to the ZERO calories of plain black coffee!

coffee_types

Gotten into a heated discussion recently about coffee preventing a proper sleep? Some people find that the mild stimulation of caffeine consumed even hours before bed time delays sleep, while others can consume a cup which will knock them out in no time! This paradox has never been fully explained even in medical circles..

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