Tag Archives: healthy

TOP 10 REASONS WHY COFFEE IS GOOD FOR YOUR BODY

Coffee is a staple of daily life around the world — so much so that 136.5 million bags of coffee were consumed in 2011 according to the International Coffee Organization. That’s up two percent from the 2010 totals. A whopping 64 percent of U.S. adults over 18 drink coffee, in 2012, according to the National Coffee Association, up from 58 percent, in 2011. The steady rise in coffee in drinkers isn’t such a bad thing because there are numerous health benefits associated with that morning cup of coffee besides a great boost in energy.

 

Coffee Bean

 

It will help you live longer

A 2012 study of over 400,000 individuals between the ages of 50 to 71 showed that drinking coffee was associated with living a longer life. “There was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality,” the study said.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine

 

It may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Drinking coffee throughout adulthood may delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. “Older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee – about 3 cups a day -will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease, or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” said study lead author Dr. Chuanhai Cao of the University of South Florida.

Source: Foodconsumer.org

 

Added with sugar, it boosts brain power and attention span

Drinking coffee with sugar boosts the brain’s efficiency and helps lengthen your attention span. A 2010 study in the journal Human Psychopharmacology found that “sugar-sweetened coffee may be the best way to prepare the brain for a busy day ahead.”

Source: UK Daily Mail

 

It helps reduce skin cancer cells

Your daily espresso (or two) could reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma, the predominant form of skin cancer. “Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma,” said Jiali Han, a professor at the Harvard Medical School who led a study with over 110,000 participants.

Source: LiveScience

 

In moderation, it helps reduce heart failure

A study of over 140,000 individuals in the journal Circulation Heart Failure showed that drinking one to two cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of heart failure. People who drank two cups a day were 11 percent less likely to have heart failure, but that benefit disappears once you consume that third cup, the study showed.

Source: FOX News

 

Women could significantly lower their risk of developing diabetes

A 2011 UCLA study showed that women who had at least four cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 56 percent. Coffee raises the levels of sex hormone-binding globulin in the bloodstream, and this SHBG is known to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, the study said.

Source: MyHealthNews

 

It lowers the risk of developing colon cancer

A study of nearly 490,000 men and women showed that drinking at least four cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of developing colon cancer. “Coffee was inversely associated with colon cancer, particularly proximal tumors,” the study concluded.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

 

It helps reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease

Because the direct cause of Parkinson’s disease is currently unknown, it’s hard to pin down exactly how coffee helps reduce the risk of developing the disease. But the Mayo Clinic wrote that “some research has shown that caffeine, which is found in coffee and tea, may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.”

Source: Mayo Clinic

 

It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

A 2011 study found that coffee consumption reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases including stroke and coronary heart disease. Caffeine consumption reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 38 percent in men and 22 percent in women, the study showed.

Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

 

It Helps You Recover After Exercise

A 2009 study from the University of Illinois found that a cup of coffee before exercise not only energizes your body but also “kills some of the pain of athletic exertion.”

Source: LiveScience

 

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Coffee may boost brain’s ability to store long-term memories, study claims

The Guardian

A cup or two of coffee could boost the brain’s ability to store long-term memories, researchers in the US claim. People who had a shot of caffeine after looking at a series of pictures were better at distinguishing them from similar images in tests the next day, the scientists found.

The task gives a measure of how precisely information is stored in the brain, which helps with a process called pattern separation which can be crucial in everyday situations.

If the effect is real, and some scientists are doubtful, then it would addmemory enhancement to the growing list of benefits that moderate caffeine consumption seems to provide.

Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist who led the study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said the ability to separate patterns was vital for discriminating between similar scenarios and experiences in life.

“If you park in the same parking lot every day, the spot you choose can look the same as many others. But when you go and look for your car, you need to look for where you parked it today, not where you parked it yesterday,” he said.

Writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Yassa described how 44 volunteers who were not heavy caffeine consumers and had abstained for at least a day were shown a rapid sequence of pictures on a computer screen. The pictures included a huge range of items, such as a hammer, a chair, an apple, a seahorse, a rubber duck and a car.

When each image flashed up on the screen, the person watching had to say whether the object was normally found indoors or outside, but they were not asked to memorise the pictures. At the end of the task, each volunteer was randomly assigned either a 200mg caffeine pill or a placebo. A typical cup of coffee contains around 150mg of caffeine.

The next day, the scientists brought the volunteers back and sat them down at the computer again. This time, the sequence of images included many they had seen the day before, but some were new and others were similar. The similar images varied in how close to the originals they were. Some showed the same object from a different angle, while others were a similar type of object, such as a different design of hammer from the one they had seen before.

For this part of the study, the volunteers had to say whether each image was either new, old or similar to one they had seen the day before. According to Yassa, the caffeine and placebo groups scored the same except when it came to spotting the similar images. In this task, the caffeine group scored around 10% higher, he said.

“What I’ve taken from this is that I should keep drinking my coffee,” Yassa told the Guardian. “Our study suggests there’s a real learning and memory benefit, but other studies suggest caffeine is associated with increased longevity, and a resistance to Alzheimer’s disease. In moderate amounts, it could have beneficial effects for health.”

Yassa said it was unclear how caffeine might help the storage of memories, but one theory is that it leads to higher levels of a stress hormone called norepinephrine in the brain, which helps memories to be laid down.

Some scientists, however, say they need more evidence to believe the effect. George Kemenes, a neuroscientist who studies memory at Sussex University, said the statistical techniques used in the paper were not good enough to prove the effect was real. “I have reservations. If the statistics aren’t right the whole story, beautiful as it is, unravels,” he said.

“Even if this was solidly true, which in my view it isn’t, it wouldn’t prove that caffeine has a memory-enhancing property. It wouldn’t call this an improvement in long-term memory.”

Jon Simons, who works on memory at Cambridge University, said the study was interesting and carefully designed, but the effect needed to be shown in a larger number of people. “The claim that caffeine affects the consolidation of memories is based on quite a small effect that would really benefit from replication in a larger sample to be convincing,” he said.

Source

Coffee DOESN’T dehydrate us: A few cups a day are ‘as hydrating as water’

By FIONA MACRAE SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT

  • Diuretic effect of caffeine is balanced by the amount of water in the drink
  • Previous beliefs about coffee dehydrating people came from 1928 research
  • As a result, the researchers are now calling for health advice to be updated to reflect their findings

The idea that drinking coffee dehydrates us is a myth, scientists said last night.

They said that while we may find it hard to believe, a few cups of coffee a day is as hydrating as water.

The Birmingham University researchers called for health advice to be updated to reflect their findings.

Sports scientist Sophie Killer said that the idea that coffee dehydrates stems from research done on samples of caffeine over 80 years ago.

However, caffeine and the many other compounds in coffee interact with each other and so the 1928 study isn’t necessarily relevant to daily life.

Miss Killer said: ‘It is estimated that 1.6billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide every day, thus it is of interest to know whether coffee contributes to the daily fluid requirement or whether it causes low-level chronic dehydration.’

To find out, the researcher asked 50 healthy men to drink either four mugs of water or coffee a day for three days and then switch.

The men ate the same food during the two parts of the study and were banned from vigorous exercise and alcohol.

Tests of blood and urine samples showed the men were just as well hydrated when they drank coffee and when they had water.

They also passed the same amount of urine, the journal PLOS ONE reports.

The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 2.8 pints of fluid and men should drink about 3.5 pints of fluid per day.

However, some experts say that coffee doesn’t count towards this.  Others advise that every cup of coffee or tea drunk is matched with a glass of water to protect against dehydration.

But Miss Killer said that her industry-funded study shows that coffee doesn’t dehydrate – at least when consumed in moderate amounts.

She said: ‘It is a common belief that coffee consumption can lead to dehydration and should be avoided, or reduced, in order to maintain a healthy fluid balance.

‘The advice provided in the public health domain regarding coffee intake and hydration status should be updated to reflect these findings.’

Dr Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic Association, said a small, strong coffee such as an espresso might dehydrate.

However, any diuretic effect of caffeine in a normal cup of coffee is more than balanced by the amount of water in the drink – leading to hydration.

She added that a couple of cups of coffee in the morning could ‘add something useful’ to someone’s day.

Tea drinkers can also take heart, with a similar, earlier, study concluding that it also does not bother the bladder more than plain water.
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Coffee painkiller to target headaches? Effectiveness of a combined paracetamol and caffeine pill tested

Taking paracetamol with a mug of coffee is often recommended by experts as an effective way to tackle a headache.

Now a trial is under way comparing the effectiveness of a combined paracetamol and caffeine pill against ibuprofen for the treatment of tension-type headaches.

Around 300 people are taking part in the trial at Parexel International, a U.S. clinical research organisation.

Those having the active treatment will take capsules containing 500 milligrams of paracetamol and 65mg of caffeine (the amount found in an average mug of coffee). Caffeine is a weak stimulant, which may boost the effect of paracetamol.

In a study carried out at Oxford University, researchers found that combining paracetamol with 100mg or more of caffeine helps  relieve pain in 10 per cent more people.
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LET’S DO SOME EYE EXERCISES

Most of us today have to stare at computer screen while working. To some, the time when they don’t stare at the glaring contraption would be the time the get some shut-eye. I was having some eye strain the other day when I remembered about this eye exercises that I haven’t done in more than a decade.

I first came across Bates Method eye exercise while I in was high school, studying for a very important examination. My parents were worried that all those late night studies might affect my vision as I constantly suffered from headaches. Then I found this in a health magazine. Every morning before cycling to school, I would just stand outside the house, facing east; the sun was just rising, the air still fresh and did this exercise. On weekends I would spend longer time outside.

Well, it is high time to get my eyes back into shape. It would be nice to do this exercise while staring at any green tree, but you can do it anywhere, anytime. Just try to find some distanced, stationary object and you are all set. To me, that would be another building a few distances away from my office window. The only warning I have before and while doing this exercise is, do not strain your eyes.

i. Swinging

This one takes about a minute. Focus on an inert object. The further it is from you the better. Then, without moving your eyes, gently move your body from side to side while maintaining focus on the object.

ii. Optical massage

I just love this one. I used to look forward to do this every day. It takes about a couple of minutes but l loved to do it longer. Very soothing, very relaxing (and very addictive too. Well, to me that is). Hold your hands about 2 inches in front of your eyes, with palms facing inwards and your fingers crossing to make some sort of mesh. Look through the mesh into middle distance. Gently, without breaking your focus, move your hands in little circles. You can actually feel the muscles inside your eyes relax while doing this.

iii. Palming 

This is best doing when sitting or lying down, comfortably. In the morning, I did this by simply leaning with my back against the gate while at night when I was ready to go to bed. Again, hold your hands in front of your eyes, palms inward, but this time the palms slightly cupped.

Rest the base of your palms on your cheekbones, and the cupped palms lie across the eye socket but make sure they do not touch the eye or lids. Carefully arrange the position so that no light penetrates through and your eyes in complete, warm darkness.

Close your eyes and concentrate in the darkness in about two to three minutes. Gently remove your hands. This particular technique actually invigorates your eyes. Just make sure your do not remove your hand too fast, especially when doing this in broad daylight. The sudden transition from dark to bright can hurt your eyes.

All the techniques above can be done more than once. Try to at least do them a couple of times every day, early morning before work, and a few minutes before going to sleep.

Anybody have other interesting but effective techniques? Feel free to share it here. I would love to try them too.

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A coffee a day keeps the doctor away

IT’S almost perfect news for this over-indulgent time of year – for experts have found that drinking coffee is good for your liver.

Until now, coffee has been best known for pepping you up, giving you the jitters or, erroneously, as a source of instant sobriety. However, a new study carried out by Scottish doctors has found patients with chronic liver disease who developed cirrhosis drank “significantly less” coffee than those who did not develop the condition.

The findings suggest the development of cirrhosis – scarring of the liver caused by long-term, continuous damage – could even be postponed by upping the amount of coffee consumed.

The research, published in the ­ Scottish Medical Journal, analysed coffee consumption among patients attending the liver outpatient department at ­Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Study co-author Peter Hayes, ­professor of hepatology at the University of ­Edinburgh, said the findings were another “piece in the jigsaw” that suggested coffee was good for the liver, and that he recommended coffee to patients who were able to drink it.

“Everything seems to point to coffee seeming to help liver to such a degree that I tell all patients who ask ‘what can I do to help my liver?’ that it’s a good idea to lose weight, keep your alcohol intake low or zero and if you like coffee, drink plenty,” he said.

But Hayes said it was difficult to carry out a definitive trial that would prove the effect of coffee, as it would involve having to pick people on a random basis and have them drink coffee for a long period of time – even if they did not like it.

But he pointed to other studies that have found beneficial effects from the drink, including a large analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year that found older adults who drank coffee had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee.

“The nice thing about it is there is an element of a consistent story that has built up over decades, as opposed to one study that suddenly pops up that suddenly tells you something is bad for you and then there is one tomorrow that tells you it is good for you,” he said. “Study after study after study has suggested that coffee seems to be good for the liver.”

Hayes cautioned against the idea that drinking enough coffee could make cirrhosis “go away” or that people should suddenly go from having no coffee to drinking 10 cups a day.

“If you are someone that has got an alcoholic liver problem, the right message from the doctors is to say cut back on your alcohol,” he said. “When it comes to things like non-alcoholic liver disease related to obesity or diabetes, people often ask if there a special liver diet. The bottom line is, keep the alcohol low and if there is anything that you take by mouth which might be helpful – it is coffee.”

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said there was growing evidence from studies that coffee is good for those with liver disease.

But there is still debate over what is in the drink that could have this effect.

He added: “What we don’t know yet is whether or not drinking coffee when you haven’t got liver disease gives you any sort of protection.

“What we do know from the research which has been done, particularly in Scandinavia, is that for people with liver disease, there is a benefit to drinking coffee.”

He added: “What is really important is to find out what it is in coffee that helps the liver. If it is not the caffeine, it would be fantastic if decaffeinated coffee [worked].

“If we could still have coffee without the caffeine, then it is a win-win situation.”

Source

COCONUT MILK, A COMPLETE FUNCTIONAL FOOD?

It’s not surprising to see some poor reactions in some people when coconut milk is mentioned. Many associate this particular milk with fat and worried their waistline would expand because of the fat content of coconut milk (Cocos nucifera). But is their fear really well-founded? What are the benefits of this natural plant-based milk?

It is true that coconut milk is high in fat, but it is not the unhealthy kind. Coconut milk is high in saturated fat especially lauric acid, the same type of fat that is also available in breast milk.  When synthesize by the body, it produces high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or the good cholesterol as we call it, and help lower our risk of developing heart diseases and even stroke. Lauric acid also a medium-chain fatty acids, thus easily turn into energy, and quite potent in helping the body getting rid of viruses, bacteria and fungi. Apart from lauric acid, this refreshing plant-based milk is also rich in bioavailable omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. Our body is able to absorb and utilize more of these fatty acids from coconut milk than from other sources.

Coconut milk contains both phosphorus and calcium. We all know how important calcium is needed by the body to build strong and healthy bone. However, calcium alone is not enough, it is co-dependent with phosphorus for bone cells growth and development and to maintain the overall skeletal system health. There is a chance that coconut milk might help to prevent osteoporosis from happening.

High potassium level is also present in coconut milk.  Vital in stabilizing blood pressure and internal fluid balance, potassium is needed to maintain healthy heart, kidneys and nervous system. Together with manganese that also exists in the milk, blood sugar level is maintained. The mineral also acts as electrolyte to transmit electrical charges for cell communication from central nervous system to throughout the body.

Drinking this natural vegetarian milk might help prevent anemia as it contains iron, assisting the body to build enough hemoglobin and act as oxygen carrier, supplying oxygen to all cells. Iron is present in muscle tissues too, providing them with oxygen for contraction and to ensure elasticity. It also provides adequate oxygen to the brain and helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

Interestingly, despite being rich in minerals, coconut milk does not contain too many vitamins, only vitamin C and E and B complex are present with quite high level of vitamin B3. Both vitamin C and E are antioxidants that protect the cells and tissues from oxidative stress. Vitamin C is essential in synthesizing collagen to strengthen and give flexibility to organs. Meanwhile, vitamin E helps protect the blood vessels and eyes from macular degeneration and other eye problems. Vitamin B3 lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol, improve joint mobility especially those who suffer from osteoarthritis.

In many ways coconut milk is beneficial to our health. But like all good things, it needs to be consumed in moderation to get the most of its benefit.

Source:Joy Amaze

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