New study links daily coffee habit to long life

I’ll pull a quote right from NPR:

“In our study, we found people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 15 percent lower [risk of premature] mortality compared to people who didn’t drink coffee,” says one of the study authors, nutrition researcher Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health.

And I’ll admit, apparently it also is true of decaf. But p-schaw.

Here’s a link to the study in Circulation.

Posted by Steve


OK, so tea’s OK, too

There’s no secret about our extolling of coffee’s benefits.

But just to be fair to all you tea drinkers, we’ll throw some leaves your way. Via the New York Times’ Upshot column, here’s some of tea’s health benefits:

At the end of all of this, I’m a little less impressed with the body of evidence regarding tea than I was with that of coffee. I admit that this is an interpretation, and others may disagree. The lack of a dose response in many of these trials, coupled with the fact that so many were performed in countries with markedly different tea consumption from our own, makes these results less generalizable than those of coffee were.

But the conclusions I would make are similar. I wouldn’t strongly recommend that anyone take up tea based on these findings. But there seem to be few harms, and some potential benefits. Drink it if you like it. It, too, seems to be a completely reasonable addition to a healthful diet.

Click on the link to get a whole mouthful of different studies.

We of course like this conclusion, giving coffee its great due. But maybe for those who want a little less of a boost in the afternoon… you can have your chai.

Posted by Steve

Here’s your latest reason to drink coffee, and it involves your colon

Ashtanga practitioners, from my experience, can give just about any subset of people — emergency room doctors, workers in the morgue or new parents — a run for their money when it comes to a willingness, even pleasure, in discussing things that really ought not be talked about among polite society.

So putting the word “colon” in a headline here feels right.

It’s also appropriate, because colon health is our latest reason to knock back some coffee each day. (Getting up to attend Tim Miller’s 6 a.m. pranayama is another.)

Here’s from the New York Times, early last week (forgive me, I was busy surfing):

Colon cancer patients who were heavy coffee drinkers had a far lower risk of dying or having their cancer return than those who did not drink coffee, with significant benefits starting at two to three cups a day, a new study found. Patients who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee or more a day had half the rate of recurrence or death than noncoffee drinkers.

But, the researchers caution, cancer patients should not start ordering extra tall coffees. The study, the first to report such findings, does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between coffee drinking and a lower risk of colon cancer recurrence. As other experts note, there may be differences between heavy coffee drinkers and abstainers that the research was not able to account for.

Yes, so there’s a caveat. But the guy who led the research had this to say:

“No one has ever done this before in colon cancer patients. It does require confirmation,” he said. Patients should not start drinking coffee based on this study, but, “If you’re a coffee drinker and enjoy your coffee, stick with it,” he said. “If a patient says, ‘Well I hate coffee,’ I’d say there are other things you can do, like avoid obesity, exercise regularly and follow a balanced diet.”

I like coffee, so I’ll stick with it. You can read more about the study at the link, obviously enough.

Posted by Steve

On coffee: ‘The potential health benefits are surprisingly large’

Another focus on all the positive health benefits of coffee for you to, um, digest. This from an online New York Times blog:

When I set out to look at the research on coffee and health, I thought I’d see it being associated with some good outcomes and some bad ones, mirroring the contradictory reports you can often find in the news media. This didn’t turn out to be the case.

Just last year, a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies looking at long-term consumption of coffee and the risk of cardiovascular disease was published. The researchers found 36 studies involving more than 1,270,000 participants. The combined data showed that those who consumed a moderate amount of coffee, about three to five cups a day, were at the lowest risk for problems. Those who consumed five or more cups a day had no higher risk than those who consumed none.

The post goes on to list the increasingly large amount of evidence that suggests coffee is potentially good for you, in moderation — and that it certainly isn’t bad.

Because (repeat after me): No coffee, no prana.

(And thanks to the few of you who passed it on to me. I’m glad my reputation is established.)

Posted by Steve

Yoga and coffee, of course

We’re contractually obligated to pass this story along because of the headline: “Yoga and coffee brought together in Leslieville“:

A new yoga studio in Leslieville is providing a place for yoga students to both work out and hang out.

It’s called Yogaville and it has been established with an on-site cafe.

“What we noticed was that a lot of the yogis, a lot of the yoga students after their classes, they actually spent a lot of time with each other and they become really good friends,” said Mazi Roz of Yogaville, when explaining the concept to CBC News.

“So we figured we could actually provide that space for them.”

I’m sure it isn’t the only yoga studio that also offers coffee; I do know it’s better than offering cold-press juice. And I think there ought to be more.

Posted by Steve

Now you can drink that third cup of coffee

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m starting to think Starbucks is behind all the pro-coffee research that drips out like, well, obviously, coffee from an old-school coffee maker.

But it remains my duty to pass on info that supports the “No coffee, no prana” motto of this here site. So, here it is:

Researchers found that people who drink between three and five cups of coffee a day are likely to have less coronary artery calcium (CAC) than those who drink no coffee at all.

They also found a correlation between people who drink between one and three cups of coffee a day and a reduced prevalence of CAC, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Heart.

But try not to overdo it: Drinking more than five cups of coffee a day was associated with a higher levels of CAC, the authors report.

Calcium in the coronary artery isn’t always a problem, but at high enough levels it can be an early sign of coronary heart disease.

I love the idea of a journal called Heart. How that isn’t a New Age publication, I don’t know.

This study was of nearly 30,000 men and women in South Korea. The researchers say they don’t know why coffee might be good for you — and that (as always) further research is needed.

But back to my Starbucks suspicion. Here’s how this article ends:

A flurry of recent reports suggest that there are many reasons to drink coffee: For example, it has been associated with improvements in short term memory, and reducing the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, melanoma Type 2 diabetes and liver cancer.

Remember all that pro-wine research?

Also, on the diet front: Science tells us why Indian food is so tasty.

Posted by Steve

One more coffee benefit: Sunscreen!

You can notch another happy benefit from drinking coffee: It looks like it may protect against melanoma, the worst of all skin cancers.

Here’s the LA Times coverage of a new study (and here’s a link to the study for you sciencey types):

The participants completed a food frequency questionnaire at the beginning of the study, including their coffee intake. Then the incidence of melanoma among subjects was tracked over an average of 10.5 years. Over this period, 2,905 test subjects developed melanoma — the fifth most common cancer and the leading cause of skin cancer death in the United States.

The researchers found that the more coffee participants drank each day, the less likely they were to develop melanoma. Drinking four cups a day was associated with a 20% lower risk. Those results remained consistent regardless of participants’ age, sex, body mass index, alcohol intake, smoking history and even ultraviolet radiation exposure, which is the primary risk factor for skin cancer.

The association was only found among participants who consumed caffeinated coffee, not decaffeinated. Coffee also only appeared to reduce the risk of malignant melanoma, not melanoma in situ, an early form of the disease in which melanoma cells have not spread beyond the outer cells of the skin. This “may indicate different disease etiologies or an inhibitory role of coffee consumption in disease progression,” the researchers write.

According to the study, bioactive compounds in coffee suppress UVB-induced skin cancer by protecting against oxidative stress and DNA damage in cells and by reducing inflammation in epidermal cells. And caffeine, the researchers say, taken both orally and applied topically, has been shown to absorb ultraviolet radiation, “functioning as a sunscreen.”

The researchers are quick to note that the safest thing to do is limit your exposure to the sun and UV rays. I guess because coffee drinkers otherwise aren’t so bright?

I also want to make sure you noted the caffeinated versus decaf difference. There’s no prana in decaf!

Posted by Steve