Coffee use dates back to the 15th century and has long been touted as a restorative drink. More recently, caffeine has been gaining popularity as a health aid. It’s even popping up in items such as makeup. So, why all this attention?
More and more researchers are investigating the positive effects of caffeine. So, I decided to do some research into topic. What I found merely confirms my suspicion that coffee is truly nature’s little miracle. Caffeine and phenolic acid are two compounds that are thought to give coffee (or tea if you prefer) their antioxidant powers. I believe antioxidants are what Christopher Columbus was searching for when he went on a hunt for the fountain of youth.
Recent studies have found that drinking coffee was associated with a decreased risk for many cancers, from colon cancer to endometrial cancer to prostate cancer to basal cell cancer. One study found a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease. They have even started to look at caffeine’s relationship to decreasing diabetes risk. And not drinking coffee was shown to increase risk of stroke in women. As if I needed a reason to reach for another cup of coffee…
Before we start guzzling the liquid cure-all, let’s take a closer look at the data. Most studies are comparing drinking 4 cups a day to around one cup a day. Four cups is a lot of coffee (even for me)! And too much coffee can certainly have side effects, such as heart arrhythmias, nervousness and insomnia. Furthermore, because this burgeoning interest in coffee is a hot new topic, many of the studies’ results haven’t been reproduced. So, we need time to verify these results before we can truly establish coffee as a powerhouse food.
But, for now, coffee in moderation is something that I CAN endorse! So, fill ‘er up!
About Dr. Susan Szulc
Susan V. Szulc, MD, is a board-certified internist with Bon Secours Medical Associates at Virginia Beach. She received her bachelor of science in microbiology from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. Dr. Szulc earned her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, Va., where she also completed a residency in internal medicine. Dr. Szulc is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians and American Medical Women’s Association. Dr. Szulc’s special interests include palliative care and hypertension.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Szulc please call (757) 305-1797!