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Coffee » Homemade Remedies for Your Health


Added antioxidants
Blood sugar regulation

Gallstone prevention

Stroke risk reduction


People have been drinking coffee as an eye-opener for thousands of years. For nearly as long, its health benefits have been debated—often vigorously. Now, emerging research suggests coffee is loaded with antioxidants that may actually protect you against cancer and diabetes.




rooted in history
Legend has it that coffee was discovered in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia, when a herder connected the dots between his especially energetic goats and the berries they’d been munching. Though we can’t vouch for the story, we do know that coffee has brewed up controversy throughout its history. It became popular in the Mideast in the 16th century and was promptly banned for its stimulating effects by conservative clerics. Later, coffee made its way to England, and by 1675, coffeehouses were springing up all over the country. Its popularity soon spread throughout Europe and to North America.


what’s in it?
To some extent, what’s in that cup of coffee you’re drinking depends on the type of coffee, where it was grown, and how it was roasted and brewed. But caffeine, an al is common to all coffees (with the obvious exception of decaf) and is responsible for its energizing effects. Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, which supports a healthy liver.

what science says
Research suggests that a cup of  may do more for you than keep you alert during that mind-numbing meeting or endless car trip. Coffee contains potentially valuable compounds, including disease-fighting antioxidants that mop up dangerous free radicals in the body and help lessen inflammation.

Scientists who study health trends in broad populations say that coffee drinkers appear to gain protection against several diseases. For example, when Harvard University researchers studied the link between women’s coffee consumption and stroke risk among the 83,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study, they discovered that years of coffee drinking didn’t increase their risk, and in fact, may have slightly reduced the women’s chances of having a stroke.

What’s more, despite the fact that caffeine raises blood sugar levels, which ratchets up the risk of type 2 diabetes, several large studies have found that consuming coffee appears to protect against this increasingly common disease. One analysis of studies involving more than 193,000 people and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that heavy coffee drinkers—people who drink up to seven cups per day— seemed to cut their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 35 percent. In a few studies, people who drank decaffeinated coffee seemed to lower their risk even more.

In a study of more than 47,000 men, researchers learned that downing several cups of coffee a day may cut the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a devastating neurological condition, by 58 percent. And in more good news for men, researchers from Harvard Medical School found out that men who drank the most coffee had a 60 percent lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer than non-coffee drinkers. Though the researchers aren’t sure why this link occurs, they suspect that coffee’s antioxidants and minerals may play a role. They presented their findings at a cancer conference in December 2009.

Finally, an unusual 2009 study conducted in Hong Kong reported that coffee seems to enhance cooperative behavior and improve social support—which sounds like a good excuse to enjoy a coffee break with your colleagues.

remember this!
Cognitive problems are sometimes a symptom of dementia, hut let’s face it: Many otherwise healthy people become a bit forgetful after middle age. Coffee may help. In one French study, women over 80 who drank three cups or more per day were 70 percent less likely to have memory decline than those who drank one cup or less.

There’s also preliminary research to suggest that coffee may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease. A 2007 analysis of four studies found that coffee drinkers had a 30 percent reduced risk for the most common form of dementia. That research was supplemented in 2009, when two studies were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Center gave caffeine to elderly mice bred to develop symptoms of the disease. The caffeine significantly decreased abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer’s. The researchers said that their findings provided evidence that caffeine could not only protect the brain from the disease process, but could actually treat it. They hope to conduct similar studies in humans.

lose the gallstones
If you’re prone to gallstones, drinking coffee may help pre vent an attack, says a 1999 study, which found that men who drink two or three cups of java per day reduce their risk of developing gallstones by 40 percent. Some scientists believe caffeine blocks development of these painful masses, which form in the gallbladder and bile ducts. In 2002, researchers at Harvard reported that women could expect similar results. Those who drank three or four cups of coffee reduced their chances of gallstones by 22 to 28 percent.


Can coffee fight cancer?
Although preliminary research back in the 1970s and 1980s inked coffee drinking and caffeine consumption to breast and pancreatic cancers, larger and more sensitive studies failed to find an association between the brew and any form of cancer. In fact, recent research suggests that coffee may actually protect against certain cancers.

A review of studies deter mined that people who drink coffee (regular or decaf) or tea regularly reduce their risk of colon cancer by 24 percent. What’s more, studies involving more than 241,000 subjects show that people who sip just two cups a day slash their risk of liver cancer by 43 percent. Most scientists who study coffee today have dismissed concerns about cancer and have begun to focus on how this popular drink might promote health.


For the best flavor and maximum health benefits, buy whole coffee beans and grind at home right before using. Coffee loses its fresh ness quickly: you should buy enough beans just for a week or two. Store in a dry dark place at room temperature. Though you can store an unopened coffee package in the freezer, once opened, keep in a cupboard. Refreezing hurts the beans.


good to know

Though drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages produces a rise in blood pressure, the effect is mild and fades quickly. Several major studies have failed to find any link between a coffee habit and chronically elevated blood pressure. One large study of more than 155,000 women found no connection between coffee drinking and the risk of developing high blood pressure.


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