A Lifestyle Prescription for Optimal Health: Is Coffee the New Miracle Drink? – 28

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“Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and our study

2 shows that coffee intake may also protect against MS, supporting the idea that the drug may have protective effects for the brain.” – study author Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR, with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Multiple sclerosis (MS) continues to be a befuddling disease. It is thought to be a T-cell autoimmune disease that is influenced by genetic and environmental factors affecting the central nervous system to include the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It is known that early exposure to sunlight so the body can produce adequate amounts of vitamin D may be an important environmental factor for preventing the development of MS, but its exact cause continues to remain an unknown. Now two new studies, one American and one Swedish have found that heavy drinking of black coffee each day produces significant protection from developing the autoimmune disease.
The Swedish study included 1629 participants with MS and 2807 healthy people. The U.S. study had 1159 participants with MS, and 1172 healthy people. Both studies looked at the amount of coffee consumed by these people one and five years before MS symptoms ever appeared, while the Swedish study even looked at their participants ten years before MS symptoms appeared and compared their coffee consumption with those that did not develop MS. The Swedish study was supported by the Swedish Medical Research Council and the Swedish Association for Persons with Neurological Disabilities, among others, and found that participants who consumed at least 6 cups of coffee per day during the 1, 5, and 10 years before symptoms were ONE THIRD LESS LIKELY to develop MS compared to those that abstained from coffee drinking. A very similar outcome was found with the John Hopkins study: those participants that did not drink coffee were ONE THIRD MORE LIKELY to develop MS over the participants who did drink 4 or more cups of coffee on a daily basis.
The typical Swedish cup of coffee is smaller than an American cup, so the two study findings were consistent. Dr. Ellen Mowry, the lead author of the American study said, “Caffeine should be studied for its impact on relapses and long-term disability in MS as well.” She also said, “This doesn’t mean we should be recommending rampant coffee drinking.”
What these two studies do indicate is that there is something about coffee drinkers that is protective for preventing MS, and that the new evidence supports many previous studies that drinking coffee with caffeine may be neuroprotective. Other studies have found high consumption of coffee on a daily basis lowers the risk for diseases involving degeneration of neurons, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Mowry’s research team thinks the protective effect of coffee consumption may be narrowed to its main ingredient – caffeine, as they stated, “Caffeine has neuroprotective properties and seems to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which may be mechanisms that explain the observed association.” Dr. Mowry went on to say, “Caffeine could be an attractive compound given its apparent benefit in protecting against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The exact mechanism by which it does so in those diseases is unclear, and if caffeine is confirmed to be protective in MS, it may still be acting via a different mechanism.”
“Greater consumption of coffee is associated with reduced odds of multiple sclerosis,” American Academy of Neurology, 2015
Another newly published study has found additional benefits for heavy coffee consumption. A study completed by the Imperial College London has found drinking 4 cups of coffee per day, caffeinated or decaf, lowered the risk for developing endometrial cancer, a cancer of the uterus, by 18 per cent compared to women who drank only one to two cups of coffee each day. Researchers at Imperial College were studying the effects of 84 different foods and nutrients have in women’s diets before focusing on coffee when they noticed the reduction for endometrial cancer with women that drank 4 or more cups of coffee each day.
The lead research fellow in cancer epidemiology at Imperial College London, Dr. Melissa Merritt stated that, “We were not surprised by the results that a high versus low intake of coffee was associated with a reduced risk for endometrial cancer, because they were consistent with what has been observed in previous studies.”
Dr. Merritt continued, “We used a ‘nutrient-wide association study,’ a new approach to systematically evaluate the association of dietary factors with endometrial cancer risk. This approach was inspired by genome-wide association studies that look at genetic risk factors for cancer, but in our case we investigated 84 foods and nutrients in place of genes as risk factors for endometrial cancer.3

She added, “We confirmed observations from previous studies that having a high versus low intake of coffee was associated with a reduced risk for endometrial cancer, and for most other dietary factors there was no association with endometrial cancer risk.”

And again she continued, “Coffee intake is worth investigating further to see if coffee can be used for the prevention of endometrial cancer. However, before clinical recommendations can be made, further studies are needed to evaluate this question in other studies and to try to isolate the components of coffee that may be responsible for any influence on endometrial cancer.”
But the study was unable to offer advice on whether caffeinated or decaf coffee was more protective because the study did not try to differentiate between caffeinated and decaf consumption. Although the researchers do not know precisely why coffee appears to offer protection from this cancer, they do know that coffee is a very good source of antioxidants (phytochemicals that protect cells from free radical damage) that protect and slow the rate of cell damage which may offer a protective effect against the development of cancer. The new study is considered to be of value by Dr. Robert Morgan, a professor of medical oncology with the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center because it is “validating other studies showing coffee has a beneficial effect in decreasing endometrial cancer.”
In the United States endometrial cancer affects 1 in 37 women and is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs. More than 54,000 American women are expected to be diagnosed with either endometrial or uterine sarcomas with over 10,000 women dying from the disease next year. It is 3.5 times more common in women that are overweight or obese compared to women that are a normal weight. There are more than 600,000 survivors of endometrial cancer in the U.S.
Again, women that are overweight or obese are THREE AND ONE HALF TIMES MORE LIKELY TO COME WITH ENDOMETRIAL CANCER. Why would that be? These women’s blood glucose levels would frequently be surging and crashing, causing them to become very hungry, only to resupply their body with anti-foods made of refined processed foods or fast-foods. This brings on the weight issues, leading to excess levels of silent inflammation throughout the body. Uncontrolled glucose begins with the SAD, and until we can change the source of our cravings from anti-foods to Real foods, these chronic health issues will remain because the source of our health problems is not extinguished. Just switching from the soda and fruit juices so many Americans drink on a daily basis to hot tea and coffee without sugar would cause a tremendous upswing for improving our overall health.
A 2013 study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, conducted research to discover just how effective tea and coffee might be with regard to prostate cancer. They were interested in finding out if the bioactive compounds, namely the many antioxidant phytochemicals contained within these beverages from Nature would have any effect upon rates of cancer, its recurrence or delaying the progression of the disease.
It was found, once again, that those participants that drank four or more cups of coffee each day had a 59% reduction for the recurrence of prostate cancer or its progression when compared to those that had only one cup or less per day of coffee. But for drinking tea, there was no reduction in prostate cancer recurrence or progression found to exist. But the authors of the study noted that, “To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate the potential association between tea consumption and prostate cancer outcomes. It is important to note, however, that few patients in our cohort were regular tea drinkers and the highest category of tea consumption was one or more cups per day. The association should be investigated in future studies that have access to larger populations with higher levels of tea consumption.”
Coffee and tea consumption in relation to prostate cancer prognosis. Cancer Causes & Control, 2013
This would explain the negative outcome for not finding the consumption of tea as highly desirable to help prevent the recurrence or progression of prostate cancer. No one in the study was drinking enough tea on a daily basis, just as the participants that only drank one cup of coffee or less on a daily basis found no benefit in drinking the coffee. The body needs to maintain a critical blood level of antioxidants needed to combat free radicals and prevent the development of cancer or its recurrence. Without that critical level being met, diseases have nothing to keep them from advancing and causing additional suffering.4

This was a five year study involving 1001 prostate cancer survivors between the ages of 35 – 74. The participants had been diagnosed with the disease between the years 2002 – 2005. Of the 1001 participants that signed up, only 630 answered surveys regarding their coffee consumption and were placed in the final analysis. Of those participants only 12% consumed four or more cups of coffee per day, while 61% consumed one cup of coffee a day. The results found those men that consumed four our more cups of coffee each day had 59% less prostate cancer recurrence or progression than those that drank only one cup per week or less. This study was very similar to the findings of the Harvard’s Health Professionals Follow-up Study which concluded men that drank six or more cups of coffee per day decreased their risk of metastatic and lethal prostate cancer by 60 percent compared to those that did not drink coffee.

Again it was the study’s conclusion that due to the consumption of coffee, these participants had higher levels of phytochemical compounds obtained from the coffee that were antioxidants and anti-inflammatory in nature, and that their glucose metabolism was modified to a greater degree than those that did not drink coffee. Improved glucose metabolism reduces inflammatory environments, while an improved arsenal of antioxidants also helps reduce inflammatory conditions. These conditions are anti-cancerous, reducing the likelihood for the development of cancers in general.

Still another study from the National Cancer Institute and Yale School of Public Health was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The intent of this study was to determine how coffee consumption might affect the risk of developing melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer.

The researchers used a very large sample – 447,357 non-Hispanic, white participants from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study who were free of cancer at the start of the study. The participants were monitored for 10.5 years for the incidence of melanoma, with the researchers finding that the more coffee the participants drank during those years, the less likely they would develop melanoma during the follow-up years. By drinking 4 cups of coffee each day, they found a 20% reduced risk for developing melanoma. With this study, only those participants that drank caffeinated coffee reduced their risk for malignant melanoma. The researchers of the study stated, “Higher coffee intake was associated with a modest decrease in risk of melanoma in this large US cohort study. Additional investigations of coffee intake and its constituents, particularly caffeine, with melanoma are warranted.” The research team believes that coffee and lifestyle modifications can make a difference in the incidence of melanoma and stated, “Because of its high disease burden, lifestyle modifications with even modest protective effects may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity.”

How about black coffee for improving oral health? Another study on coffee is suggesting that coffee may do just that – improve your oral health. Researchers from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found that coffee containing high amounts of caffeine can destroy oral bacteria that are responsible for dental plaques when the coffee is consumed black and without sugar.

The researchers used Robusta coffee mostly grown in Vietnam, Brazil and Africa containing high amounts of polyphenols (phytochemicals) made up of compounds that can prevent and treat oral diseases. They noted that the polyphenols found within the Robusta coffee destroyed the bacteria on the teeth by causing them to burst open. After a week, the teeth that had been exposed to the coffee extracts were in better condition than the teeth that were treated only with filtered water. Robusta coffee helped destroy the bacteria that build up plaque. Still, the acidity from too much coffee could have a negative effect upon the enamel of the teeth while consuming too much coffee could also cause staining of the teeth, but what is too much coffee is not defined.
“Antibacterial effect of coffee: calcium concentration in a culture containing teeth/biofilm exposed to Coffea Canephora aqueous extract,” Letters in Applied Microbiology, June, 20141

And still more with another study: According to Dr. V. Wendy Setiawan, a cancer epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, “Coffee intake has been suggested to lower the risk for HCC [hepatocellular carcinoma] in epidemiologic studies, but these studies were conducted outside of the United States. We wanted to examine whether coffee consumption is associated with risk for developing HCC in multiethnic U.S. populations. Data from a diverse group of men and women from various ethnicities followed up for 18 years showed a statistically significant dose-response relationship between increasing coffee consumption and lowered HCC risk. Now we can add HCC to the list of medical ailments, such as Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke, that may be prevented by coffee intake. Daily coffee consumption should be encouraged in individuals who are at high risk for HCC.”

This study found that individuals who consumed between one to three cups of coffee on a daily basis had a 29% reduced risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma compared to participants who consumed less than 6 cups of coffee per week.
Coffee Reduces Risk for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: An Updated Meta-analysis, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, May 08, 2013

But let’s not stop there. A meta-analysis of 16 studies composed of more than 3,000 cases between 1996 and 2012, found ALL of the studies’ results were consistent. They all showed that moderate consumption of coffee defined as three cups per day, could reduce the risk of liver disease by 50%. This 16 study meta-analysis was done by researchers from the Maro Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy with Dr. Carlo La Vecchia of the Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health at the Institute stating, “Our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health, and particularly for the liver. The favorable effect of coffee on liver cancer might be mediated by coffee’s proven prevention of diabetes, a known risk for the disease, or for its beneficial effects on cirrhosis and liver enzymes.”
Coffee Reduces Risk for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: An Updated Meta-analysis. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2013.

According to data compiled by the National Coffee Association’s 2013 survey, about 83% of Americans drink coffee. 63% of Americans consumed coffee every day, compared to 65% in 2012 and 58% in 2011. According to the survey, daily consumption fell from 50% to 41% for those aged 18 – 24, and dropped from 63% to 59% for those aged 25 – 39, while daily consumption increased from 65% to 69% for those aged 40 – 59, and increased as well from 71% to 76% for Americans aged 60 years and older.

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Coffee consumption around the world, according to Wikipedia.

These studies on coffee consumption represent only a few of many positive findings daily coffee consumption has been coupled to have upon our health. It should also be kept in mind that when we drink coffee and tea without added sugars, these beverages can improve our health in at least two ways: 1. They contain many different polyphenols that are antioxidant phytochemicals helping to defend and neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals that threaten the structure and health of all of our cells. And when we consume these beverages from Nature we are NOT consuming or consuming less of beverages made by man such as sodas, juice-drinks, or even juices that derive all of their calories from added sugars or natural sugars that have stripped of their fiber. These man-made beverages cause blood glucose levels to soar and crash (S&C) and with each wave of S&C, inflammation throughout the body is heightened. As inflammation is heightened, the development of any number of chronic diseases is heightened as well. But this is NOT the case when we train our taste buds to enjoy coffees and teas from around the world without added sugar. Instead, our health is protected and disease is minimized due to the contents these beverages offer from Nature, while eliminating those promoted by the processed food industry.