Coffee good. Very good.

Early in the morning, I really need some help getting started.

Help spelled c-o-f-f-e-e.

The New York Times (via the South Dakota Politics[*1] blog) confirms the black goodness which is coffee:

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 ofseveral 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 notknown, but the authors offered several explanations.

Coffee contains antioxidants that help control the cell damage thatcan contribute to the development of the disease. It is also a source of chlorogenic acid, which has been shown in animal experiments toreduce glucose concentrations.

Caffeine, perhaps coffee’s most famous component, seems to havelittle to do with it; studies that looked at decaffeinated coffee alonefound the same degree of risk reduction.

Larger quantities of coffee seem to be especially helpful indiabetes prevention. In a report that combined statistical data frommany studies, researchers found that people who drank four to six cupsof coffee a day had a 28 percent reduced risk compared with people whodrank two or fewer. Those who drank more than six had a 35 percent risk reduction.