Contributed by: filbert Wednesday, August 16 2006 @ 06:32 AM CST
Coffee is not usually thought of as health food, but a number of recent studies suggest that it can be a highly beneficial drink. Researchers have found strong evidence that coffee reduces the risk of several serious ailments, including diabetes[*2] , heart disease[*3] and cirrhosis of the liver.
Among them is a systematic review[*4] of studies published last year in The Journal of the American Medical Association[*5] , which concluded that habitual coffee consumption was consistently associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Exactly why is not known, but the authors offered several explanations.
Coffee contains antioxidants that help control the cell damage that can contribute to the development of the disease. It is also a source of chlorogenic acid, which has been shown in animal experiments to reduce glucose concentrations.
Caffeine, perhaps coffee’s most famous component, seems to have little to do with it; studies that looked at decaffeinated coffee alone found the same degree of risk reduction.
Larger quantities of coffee seem to be especially helpful in diabetes prevention. In a report that combined statistical data from many studies, researchers found that people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day had a 28 percent reduced risk compared with people who drank two or fewer. Those who drank more than six had a 35 percent risk reduction.