I am sure that most of you would regularly drink either tea or coffee-or maybe if like me, you were brought up in the U.K. a bit of both.
I read two very interesting new articles this week on the growing research based evidence, that conclude the health benefits of coffee and tea are significant and wide ranging and that our two favourite (non-alcoholic) beverages, drunk in reasonable quantities, have no proven adverse health effects.
The first article by Dr Mercola, provides a comprehensive update based on meta-analyses of multiple studies, evaluating the link between coffee and chronic diseases (n.b. meta analysis uses statistical techniques contrasting and combining results from different studies trying to identify patterns or inconsistencies among study results).
The second article in the “Life Extension” newsletter, is based on research originally reported in the May 2015 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and is based on the results of a study by the Japan Public Health Centre- involving more than 90,000 people over a period of 19 years. This study concluded that participants in the study who drank up to 4 cups of coffee a day were up to 24% less likely to die over the duration of the study than those who did not drink coffee regularly. Interestingly, those who over-indulged were no more at risk than the participants that who did not drink coffee regularly.
I have provided links to both articles in the “sources” section at the end of this article.
Health Benefits of Coffee – Summary of Key Findings
As the articles are long and include lots of technical terms, I decided to summarise the key findings for you here.
Dr Mercola reported that, for the first time, a government advisory committee has included a positive mention of caffeine in its recommendations for the 2015 edition of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans”. The report said Americans could safely consume up to five cups of coffee a day, or approximately 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, with no detrimental effects.
Please remember that the average coffee served in coffee shops is large than a standard cup, so will contain well above the 80 mg of caffeine assumed in the Dietary guidelines.
Of course, all of these findings are referring to black coffee; not the milk and sugar coffee-based beverages that lots of people consume, and certainly not some of the more exotic, so-called, coffees that some coffee chains have dreamt up. If you can’t drink your coffee black, try adding non-dairy alternatives like coconut milk, almond milk, or a natural sweetener like Stevia.
Studies looking at the connection between drinking coffee and heart health, found that drinking two to six cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of stroke, and that those who drank a moderate amount of coffee – defined as three to five cups daily – were less likely to have calcium deposits in their coronary arteries – the cause of arteriosclerosis (blocked arteries), than those who drank either no coffee, or more than 5 cups of coffee daily.
Interestingly, according to Dr Mercola, while a number of individual studies have suggested coffee consumption might increase your cancer risk, when multiple studies are analysed, such as is the case with meta-analyses, the association disappears, and in fact, it actually becomes protective (i.e. reduces the risk).
Dr Mercola also reported that coffee appears to have additional benefits for liver health, slowing down the progression of liver disease to cirrhosis, and lowering the risk of death in people with cirrhosis.
In addition to the news that coffee might be good for your arteries, liver, and your risk of cancer, several other studies have also yielded promising results regarding coffee and many other chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Coffee has even been shown to lower the risk of premature death from heart disease, respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, and infections.
Tea Consumption May Lengthen Your Life, Too
According to Dr Mercola’s article;
- like coffee, modern-day research has also confirmed tea’s many health benefits. Drinking green teais associated with reduced mortality due to all causes. Research also shows the wholistic benefits of green tea consumption, including lower blood cholesterol, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation.
- Green tea also improves both blood flow and the ability of arteries to relax, with research suggesting a few cups of green tea each day may help prevent heart disease.
- One study found people who consume six or more cups of green tea daily had a 33 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, than those who consumed less than one cup per week.
- There is some evidence that long-term consumption of green tea is beneficial for burning fat and may work with other chemicals to increase levels of fat oxidation and thermogenesis (conversion).
Click this link for more information on the health benefits of green tea,
Modern research on coffee is reversing most of the widely held myths that coffee is unhealthy, and that the health benefits of coffee, outweigh any adverse impacts. Nevertheless, it seems that the optimal daily consumption is 5 standard cups, containing around 400 mg of caffeine, which will provide the maximum benefits.
Whilst the benefits of drinking tea (especially green tea), have been generally accepted for some time; as a regular drinker of green and other varieties of tea myself, it is pleasing to see modern-day studies are confirming the benefits.
Links to the relevant articles are included below.