Organic Spa Blog

Caffeine and Coffee Studies Explore Huge Antioxidant Potential

Public health expert Robert J. Davis, Ph.D., recently debuted his new book on the tail-end of  the coffee studies blaring all over the news. In an exclusive interview with Organic Spa Magazine, author of “Coffee is Good for You:  From Vitamin C and Organic Foods to Low-Carb and Detox Diets, The Truth About Diet and Nutrition Claims (Perigee  2012), the doctor told us that coffee contains 1,000 compounds.

Dr. Davis explained why caffeine and coffee have acquired such a bum rap, and why more than three cups of coffee a day may pack as many free radical- fighting antioxidants as a good glass of Pinot Noir or Cabernet.

No more guilt over those afternoon lattes!

Organic Spa: We’ve been aware of the temporary topical benefits of caffeine in anti-cellulite creams and beauty products for years . After immersing yourself in these clinical studies, what is the biggest surprise?

Robert Davis: Having thoroughly reviewed all the research on coffee and other interconnected studies, health findings show that people who drink several cups of coffee per day show a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes and diabetes. A lower risk.

OS: How much coffee protects your heart and protects against some cancers, but how much is too much? Is two cups the breaking point?

RD: No, that’s another surprise. Some health benefits are seen with three, four or five cups of coffee per day. Of course that all depends on the condition, the size of the samples… And studies are still firm that drinking an excess amount of coffee does interfere with pregnancy miscarriage.

The recent study in the  New England Journal of Medicine was the  largest study ever done on coffee, with more than 400,000 people studied. Research shows in athletic performance, caffeine intake improves your muscular endurance. Your brain might be affected by caffeine so you don’t feel as tired or fatigued.

Caffeine has a beneficial effect in weight lifting, and optimal performance for people who do not routinely drink coffee. Research also shows overwhelming proof that caffeine has a beneficial effect on athletic performance as it relates to short bursts of energy and sprint speeds. One downside, caffeine — in the short term — raises heart rate and blood pressure momentarily so some special populations should still avoid coffee.

OSM: Long-held hydration rules always urge humans to drink 8 to 10 glasses of beverage per day to remain hydrated. But then we hear that coffee doesn’t count in that allotment. I feel like my two cafes per day should count.

RD: I agree, what a great question. While two cups of coffee may have mild diarrhetic effects, coffee should count as one of those glasses of water you need each day, depending on how it’s made of course. About 20 percent of your typical water needs are consumed via the food you eat anyway.

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