Tuesday, December 29, 2009
There's a great article in the Wall Street Journal that summarizes the possible influences of coffee on health. The short version: Great for cancer prevention, perhaps not so great for cardiovascular disease. Since my family gets lots of the former and virtually none of the latter, I'm good! Money quote:
Earlier studies also linked coffee consumption with a lower risk of getting colon, mouth, throat, esophageal and endometrial cancers. People who drink coffee are also less likely to have cavities, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, or to commit suicide, studies have found. Last year, researchers at Harvard University and the University of Madrid assessed data on more than 100,000 people over 20 years and concluded that the more coffee they drank, the less likely they were to die during that period from any cause.
But those studies come on the heels of older ones showing that coffee—particularly the caffeine it contains—raises blood pressure, heart rate and levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in blood that is associated with stroke and heart disease. Pregnant women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day have a higher rate of miscarriages and lower birth-weight babies; caffeine has also been linked to benign breast lumps and bone loss in elderly women. And, as many people can attest, coffee can also aggravate anxiety, irritability, heartburn and sleeplessness, which brings its own set of problems, including a higher risk of obesity.
There's lots more where that came from, but for me the conclusion is obvious: Drink up!
Admittedly I haven't hit the link and am not going to. These types of stories annoy me. They always over generalize, and I strongly suspect the studies are flawed. Furthermore, there is likely a study out there showing just the opposite effect. What these studies do illustrate is how our research money is squandered in order to keep 'scientists' employed. Like the astrology column, these stories should be read for their entertainment value alone.