Don’t feel bad about those days you drink a little too much coffee: A 2016 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry found drinking a high consumption—we’re talking more than four a day—can help reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes the immune system to attack the protective covering of the nerves in the brain, spine, and eyes. And not just a little—by 31 percent.
Do you drink your coffee first thing in the morning? You may want to think again.”Caffeine causes sugar to release into the bloodstream, creating a spike in insulin and a resulting drop in blood sugar,” says health coach and nutritionist Kristie Santana. “This will cause your body to require even more sugar, which will lead to food cravings.” Additionally, studies have found that drinking coffee first thing in the morning interferes with our bodies’ production of cortisol, which can increase your tolerance to caffeine and make you more reliant on the drink.
In 2013, the journal Epidemiology and Prevention published a review of studies analyzing the correlation between coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease. Data from 36 different studies showed that people who drink three to five cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of heart disease than those who drink no coffee or more than five cups per day.
Coffee has been known for helping reduce the risk of cancer, and a 2016 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention found drinking it could help cut it by a whopping 50 percent. But how much is needed to reap the benefits? Researchers say one or two cupts for a 26 percent reduced risk or more than 2.5 for a 50 percent-reduced risk.
The study builds on earlier work in which the two scientists showed caffeine ramps up the functional capacity of the cells that line blood vessels. The drug does so by getting into cells and stoking the mitochondria, structures within the cells that burn oxygen as they turn glucose into energy.“Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells,” Haendeler says. One of the things they run on is a protein known as p27. As Haendeler and Altschmied discovered (and describe in the current paper), caffeine works its magic in the major types of heart cells by increasing the amount of p27 in their mitochondria.
Being coordinated is a true blessing, and if you could use some help in that department, you’re not alone. A 2010 review in the journal Nutrition found the caffeine in coffee can actually enhance neuromuscular coordination, making your brain send messages to your muscles faster. That helps with a lot of things, tripping on random cracks in the sidewalk included.
Cardamom has been dubbed the “queen of spices”—and it’s not just because of its rich, warm taste. In some ancient medicinal traditions, this powerful spice was used to treat everything from gum infections to tuberculosis. And while we’re not recommending you try to whip up a DIY cardamom cure for either of those, one recent study suggests the spice may have antimicrobial properties so you can fight off pesky bacteria like E. coli. And adding it to your coffee might just improve your social health, since it’s been used as a natural breath freshener and, well, coffee breath is a thing.
Poole notes that the analysis included a number of different studies, each with different designs, and not all of them may have adjusted for potential confounding effects that could skew the connection between coffee and health outcomes. Coffee drinkers, for example, also tend to smoke more than non-drinkers, and smoking has an effect on early death, heart disease and certain cancers.
An alarming 11.8% of American men over the age of 20 have diabetes. Needless to say, it’s a growing concern and one receiving a great deal of attention in the medical community. Between 1986 and 1998, Harvard researchers tracked the coffee consumption and occurrence of type-2 diabetes of more than 40,000 men. They discovered that long-term coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes and statistics indicated the risk decreased the more they drank. Just remember to limit your sugar!
Believe it or not, vanilla has been a medicinal food used for centuries—not just a beloved ice cream flavor. It’s touted for being a brain superfood in its ability to boost mental performance, mood, and overall brain health. Vanilla is also used to calm stomach aches (due to hunger pangs and digestion), reduce joint pain, relieve stress, even cure male impotency.
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