You should probably be drinking more coffee than you currently do. Coffee consumption has been linked to all kinds of health benefits, including a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can also help to keep you alert and focused. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services puts out new dietary guidelines for Americans every five years and the newest version of the report suggests that more coffee could be better for your health.
Though Americans only drink an average of 1 cup of coffee per day, the new guidelines indicate that 3-5 cups of coffee per day should be considered “moderate” consumption that is permitted – and, perhaps even encouraged – as part of a healthy diet. The guidelines specifically note that consumption of up to 400 milligrams of caffeine is within normal limits, as the research linking coffee consumption to health benefits has always linked caffeinated coffee, not decaf. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will be finalized by the end of the year.
Coffee can perk you up and give you a generous boost of antioxidents – both of which are good reasons to pour youself a second cup in the morning. New research reveals that coffee may have other health benefits: it can help protect against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
The study, conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute, found that people who drank at least 4 cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of developing melanoma than their counterparts did not. The study looked at the self-reported coffee-drinking habits of more than 440,000 people, and even after screening for things like age and a family history of cancer, the link between coffee and a reduced melanoma risk remained significant. Decaf coffee did not show the same protective effects against UV damage. This study is just one more piece of evidence that caffeine “may act as a molecular sunscreen.” While the study will not necessarily be the last word on this subject, it is a solid indicator that you shouldn’t hesitate before pouring yourself another cup of coffee.
What color is your coffee mug? If you’re anything like me, the answer to that question is the color of ‘whatever mug my hand finds first in the cupboard’. I don’t pay that much attention to the color of my mugs – but I probably should and you should, too. A new study shows that the color of your coffee mug can influence the flavor of your coffee. The study, published in the journal Flavour, found that white cups make people perceive cafe lattes as being more strongly coffee flavored – e.g. more bitter and generally more intense - than lattes served in other mugs. A second experiment evaluated the shapes of mugs and whether that would have an impact on the perceived intensity of coffee, but that showed that color mattered more than shape. Coffee served in white cups – no matter the size or shape – was consistently perceived as being less sweet than coffee served in clear or blue mugs. Researchers theorize that it is the color contrast between a white mug and dark coffee (or even a darker-than-white latte) is what impacts the perceived intensity of the coffee.
In other words, you might not want to reach for the white mug when you pour your next cup because, like it or not, you might believe that it tastes better when you sip it from a cup of a different color.
Coffee does a lot of wonderful things, in addition to simply tasting good, and we can add one more to the list today. A new study has linked coffee consumption with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, a nonprofit that studies the heath effects of coffee, found that there are several things going on in coffee that may be relevant to slowing age-related cognitive decline.
ISIC researchers point to the caffeine and polyphenol content in coffee as the protective factors. Caffeine, they say, prevents the buildup of the protein that creates plaques and tangles in the brain, which researchers believe is one of the key causes for the memory-robbing disease. Caffeine, along with polyphenols, chemical compounds that have an antioxidant effect on the body, both reduce inflammation, which some researchers believe is the key to age-related decline.
Their study looked at a ground of around 5,000 middle aged participants whose coffee consuption was monitored from 1989 to 1991, and again from 1997 to 2011. Participants in the study who consumed more than three cups of coffee a day were found to be less likely to develop dementia or experience the onset of Alzheimer’s. Research suggests that coffee consumption could be causing a delayed onset of symptoms, rather than reversing damage that is already present, since there was some indication that the “protective effect” of coffee may diminish over time. That said, there is still lots more research to be done and a delayed onset – a slowing of the disease’s progress, especially at the beginning – is certainly a wonderful thing because it buys you extra time, as anyone who has had a loved one fall victim to dementia will certainly tell you.