Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Drink up! No, really, it's okay.

Don't you hate it that science is always coming up with some new research that tells us that something that we were told years ago would benefit us is really going to kill us?  I can give you a prime example - HRT.  Hormone Replacement Therapy.  For years, women of a certain age were told that it was the magic pill, the key to keeping ourselves young and supple, and many of us took the little magic pills.  Then one day out of a clear blue sky comes new research that proves rather definitively that, as young and supple as we might be, our chances of getting certain forms of cancer were greatly increased!

Every year it seems that some researcher comes up with another of these magic formulas and everybody jumps on the bandwagon and then a few years later we find that it wasn't magic after all.  Vitamin D3 was another recent example.

Anyway, happily, it works the other way around as well.  Sometimes we find out that things which we thought were bad for us, or at least not particularly good for us, are actually beneficial.  Coffee, for example.  It turns out that coffee, or at least the caffeine in coffee, may be protecting and aiding those who drink it.
It saves your brain!  Four or five cups of coffee a day may help protect the brain from Alzheimer's Disease.  Well, anyway, it has that effect on mice.
Research has shown that men who drink six cups of coffee a day have a 60 percent decreased chance of developing a dangerous form of prostate cancer, as well as a 20 percent decreased chance of developing any other kinds of prostate cancer.  Drink up, guys!
Women who drink a few cups of caffeinated coffee have a lower risk of depression than women who don't drink any coffee, according to a Harvard study.   So throw away the  mood-altering pills and  just drink more coffee!
New research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference shows that coffee could help to ward off basal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer in the world.  In addition to the sunscreen, don't forget that extra cup of coffee.
Drinking coffee is associated with a lower Type 2 diabetes risk, with more coffee consumption linked to a greater decrease in risk, according to an Archives of Internal Medicine review of studies from 2009.   This is one instance where consuming more of something may actually be better for you.
Drinking a few cups of coffee a day could lower the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by as much as 25 percent, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, with the consumption of two to three cups seemingly having the optimal effect. 
The caffeine in coffee could actually help you to spot grammar errors, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.  Researchers found that caffeine helped students to correct errors in subject-verb agreement and verb tense; however, it didn't help with recognizing misspelled words.
So there you have it.  Science has confirmed what many of us long suspected, namely that we perform better with a little caffeine, our drug of choice, in our system.  Not only that but the drug may be providing valuable protection for our bodies in the long term.  Tea-drinker that I am, I just wonder if the caffeine in tea has the same effect.  Maybe I should switch.  Nah, they'll probably just come out next year with a study that shows that coffee actually hastens our decline.  In fact, I'm just about willing to bet on it.

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