Despite years of reassuring researches, many people still avoid caffeinated coffee because they worry about its health effects. However, according to a recent research, taking one to six cups of coffee in a day could help a great deal in reducing the risk of some diseases. RALIAT AHMED writes with agency reports.
Women who drink five or more cups of coffee a day could be protecting themselves against an aggressive form of cancer, says a recent Swedish research.
Although other researches had suggested that coffee which contains a high dose of caffeine poses health risks, scientists believe that people who drink between one or two cups daily have the healthiest arteries.
Drinking just one cup of a coffee a day could reduce your blood pressure, according to a Greek study of 485 people aged 65 to 100.
A Bristol University study of 600 people found that those who drank a cup of regular coffee performed better in mental tests than those who drank decaffeinated coffee or nothing.
Another research by a team of scientists from the University of Florida also says that taking two cups of coffee a day could keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay. Around 200mg of caffeine, the equivalent of two cups of coffee could prevent the build up of proteins in the brain which have been linked to memory loss associated with the disease.
And drinking the equivalent of two cups of coffee 30 minutes before exercise may enhance your performance by providing you with more energy, suggests a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.
When Leadership contacted Professor Tunde Oguntona, a professor in the department of Nutrition and dietetics, University of Agric, Abeokuta, he confirmed that there had been various researches which suggested this type of claim mostly in the United States and Europe.
“It is however too early to jump into conclusions at this stage due to the side effects of coffee as a result of its high caffeine content. “We still need to do more researches to substantiate this claim before it can be put into consideration, especially in this part of the world”, Oguntona said.
Speaking further, Oguntona said that there were however, factors to be put into consideration for this claim to be applicable in Nigeria.
He stated, “One basic factor is the quality of health of individuals in the country. The above claim may have been successful because it was carried out on healthy individuals and as such may not be possible here due to health/disease profile of individuals.”
Another factor that should be put into consideration is our diet which is different from that of people in America and Europe.
The caffeine intake from three cups a day can reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer by a fifth, the American medical journal Cancer reported in 2008.
After studying more than 122,000 women, researchers found that the benefits were even greater for women who’d never been on the contraceptive pill or HRT (their risk was reduced by 35 and 43 per cent respectively.
Men who drink three cups of coffee have a 40 per cent lower risk of developing gallstones, according to another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The scientists believe the caffeine stimulates contractions in the gall bladder, helping to remove any small stones before they become a problem.
According to the President of Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Professor Onimawu, coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant. Most stimulants, he said, played the role of creating alertness in people. This could be of help to people who suffer from dementia as it helps the sufferer to be smart by creating alertness.
Speaking on the role of coffee in reducing blood pressure, Prof. Onimawu said that due to stress and other factors, many Nigerians were becoming hypertensive and therefore, taking coffee could aggravate it. As for people who do not have any case of high blood pressure, coffee has no side effect at all.
Onimawu however, noted that tea unlike coffee contained less caffeine and more antioxidants- substances that help in the prevention of cellular damage-the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases.
He added that although coffee also contained antioxidant in limited amount, tea was more helpful than coffee.
There is 400mg of caffeine in four cups of coffee and this amount is thought to provide the maximum benefit of coffee’s disease-combating antioxidants.
“Tea and coffee are packed with antioxidant polyphenols, which can potentially cut the risk of cancer,’ says Dr Michelle Harvey, research dietician at the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.
“Studies show it promotes production of a less potent form of the cancer-causing hormone oestrogen,” she said.
University of Utah scientists found people that who drank four cups daily are 39 per cent less likely to suffer from cancers of the mouth and larynx.
Other researches suggest that this amount may also reduce the risk of developing colorectal and prostate cancer, as well as type-2 diabetes.
Researchers at the National Cancer Centre in Tokyo found that drinking five cups of coffee reduced the risk of serious liver damage by three quarters.
Their findings were based on a study of 90,000 middle-aged men and women over ten years.
The scientists believe antioxidants in the coffee may be responsible for the protective effect.