Tag Archives: coffee

Weighing the Conflicting Reports on Coffees Health Benefits or Negatives

We live in a society where people are driven to succeed and to do so they must constantly be moving and working hard. Rushing around all day takes a great deal of energy and depending on your diet and how healthy it is, you may not have a whole lot of that energy to go around. Unfortunately the fact that we have a hard time finding time to stop and take care of ourselves means we are not getting the natural energy we would from a balanced diet. We eat a great deal of fast food as a nation and foods that work for us because of convenience and not because they do our bodies any good. Because of this fact, we as a society look for supplemental energy and get our fuel through highly caffeinated beverages.

Coffee - Is it really that bad for you?

Coffee - Is it really that bad for you?

Now, there are some that actually drink coffee for the taste, and not because they are dependent upon it, but for the most part, people drink coffee to get through their days and most are addicted to it. Caffeine is considered a psychoactive drug because of the changes it makes to the brain of the user and the effects it has on their behavior. When you consider the fact that it alters your state, granted, in different ways than alcohol or other drugs, you must also consider the adverse effects it has on other aspects of your health as well. Once you have all the facts, you can make the educated decision as to whether or not it is worth it to you to continue to include it in your daily regime.

The decision of whether or not to continue with your daily brew will not be an easy one, because at the same time that researchers are discovering adverse effects, they are discovering health benefits to its use as well. Weight the risks with the benefits and make the decision you are comfortable with for you after you have gathered all the information.

Adverse Effects

Insomnia and disruptions to your natural sleep patterns are a nasty side effect of ingesting too much caffeine because they can leave the user feeling like they need another dose to get a quick pick-me-up. This is a nasty and unhealthy cycle that can cause many other health problems as lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain among other health problems.

There also have been significant studies that attribute elevated fatty acid, cholesterol and blood pressure levels to drinking too much caffeine. All of these heightened levels put the user at a higher risk for having a heart attack or stroke.

Consumption of caffeine has also contributed to irregular heartbeats and palpitations in its users as well as feelings off jitteriness and shakiness, and overall feelings of unease. There is a direct connection to hyperactive behavior in people and the caffeine that they consume directly beforehand.

Those who consume caffeine regularly have a greater risk for anemia because the caffeine reduces the body’s ability to absorb the iron in their food.

Drinking coffee has also been attributed negative effects on the performance of the user’s short term memory.

One thing to consider greatly is the effect that consuming caffeine has on children, being consumed either in coffee or soda. One can of soda multiplies the effects greatly in someone the size of a child and has results equaling that of four cups of coffee for an adult. Needless to say, that if it is risky for a grown-up it is extremely unhealthy for a child.

Benefits

In research, caffeine has been seen to increase immediate focus on tasks requiring higher levels of concentration. That explains the bright eyed clear headed feeling you get from drinking a cup, and is the reason that most people drink it. Beware, this clear focus is often followed by a feeling of depression, or a come down of sorts.

Drinking caffeine has been attributed to, in some studies, to preventing the on-set of type 2 diabetes. This particular benefit may be worth the side effects, when considering overall health risks and whether or not it is worth it to have your cup of Joe a day.

Drinking coffee has been linked to the prevention of gall bladder disease in men and women; and studies have shown that coffee has some anti-cancer or cancer reducing qualities. The antioxidants in coffee prove to be great cancer fighting agents.

Those who drink two cups of coffee a day are at a lesser risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s. The more you drink, the less your chances are of developing these.

Coffee is a great diuretic, helping to push toxins and waste right on through your digestive system. Drinking a cup or two a day will help you to stay “regular.”

When considering the positives and negatives to drinking your few cups of coffee a day, I suppose it could be a difficult decision to make based on health alone, as there are arguments to sway you either way. I suppose the best advice that I can give, and one that applies to most things, is EVERYTHING in moderation.

 

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This guest post has been provided by Janet Lynch – a health and fitness expert. She works with ChefsDiet, a leading health food company that is innovating the possibilities for busy people to stay healthy on the run.

Anyone fancy a cuppa?

Often a topic for debate, the common English cup of tea is often seen as the better choice over coffee because of differences in caffeine and the lack of addictive qualities that coffee can offer. But is tea really a better option? The Healthy Hideout decided to find our what makes tea tick:

Coffee or Tea? You decide which is best.

Coffee or Tea? You decide which is best.

Tea effects your health – Recent numerous studies show how regular tea drinking demonstrated a link between a reduction in heart attack risk, cholesterol levels and uric acid – a factor associated with diabetes and heart disease.

Five cups a day – Studies suggest that the flavonoids found in standard English teas can help to minimise the increase the in blood pressure caused by the natural occurrence of caffeine by up to 65%. Too much tea however can increase your blood pressure, so try to keep sensible at around 5 cups a day.

Don’ overdo it – It’s common knowledge that caffeine helps increase alertness and helps us to feel more awake, but it’s important to not intake too much. Keep it to below 5 cups a day – Anything above has been known to affect sleeping patterns.

Keeping hydrated – Caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee are often related to dehydration. The intake of caffeine increases the blood flow to the kidneys, inhibiting the re-absorption of sodium, calcium and magnesium causing increased water secretion. Be sure to have a glass of water after a black coffee to keep well hydrated.

Watch your children – UK expert research has shown that the Canadian guidelines for caffeine intake with children are worth adhering to. Keep tea intake to nothing more than 2 small cups of tea a day, encouraging the intake of water instead.

To summarise, tea is generally quite good for you within moderation. If you need a relaxing hot drink without the caffeine, it’s worth looking into the herbal options available. The Healthy Hideout touched on herbal teas in a previous article which can be found here: http://www.divapor.com/blog/2010/11/6-top-teas-the-real-wonder-drink/

 

10 Top Brain Foods

The brain can be a very demanding muscle and giving it what it needs will pay massive dividends to the mental health of both you and your family. A sharp, focused brain with clarity of thought will make you more productive, produce higher quality results while saving you both time and energy. If you have a difficult decision to make about your finances, relationships or future then why not start off with your brain functioning in top gear? It may be that you just want to stay sharp-witted, improve memory or stave off mental decline. All you need to do is make some changes to your weekly shopping list and soon you will start to think more clearly!

Blueberries

Blueberries. Source: http://www.oregonberry.com

1. Blueberries

Studies have discovered that berries can help fight major conditions such as heart disease, cancer and infections. In particular, blueberries, strawberries and acai berries can help protect the brain; preserving memory and other mental faculties. Dr. Poulose, a researcher from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA-ARS) stated: “The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against age-associated decline.”

2. Coffee

Coffee Beans

Enjoy a guilt-free morning coffee!

The risk of dementia can be cut where coffee blocks the damage that cholesterol can inflict on the body. The 2008 report from the BBC stated that coffee can lead to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Jonathan Geiger from the University of North Dakota says, “Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.” Perhaps that daily cup of coffee could be having more long term benefits that you thought!

3. Salmon

Dr Byrne from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School states that: “There are certain ‘brain foods’ that seem to have a benefit on the brain. New research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in salmon and other fish, may build the brain’s gray matter”.

4. Eggs

Eggs are a good source of choline, which has been found to be vital for healthy cells, liver and brain. In fact choline not only helps improve brain function but can also help with memory retention. With many people lacking adequate amounts of choline in their diets it seems like eggs are a great, accessible source.

5. Flax seeds

Increasing evidence supports the notion of increasing the amount of omega-3 healthy fats in our diets. Omega-3 can be found in fish oils and flax seed oil. It has been reported that these Omega-3 healthy fats can be good for your brain and overall mood.

6. Avocado

Steven Pratt, MD, and author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life states that avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. Avocado is a fatty fruit but this is a monounsaturated fat which can actually contribute to healthy blood flow.

7. Spinach & Green leafy vegetables

The journal of American Heart Association found that there is a clear link between a high folate diet and reduced risk of strokes. In fact, spinach is high in folate and a great natural source. Some neurologists have recommended eating organic spinach 3+ times a week as a brain tonic!

8. Walnuts & mixed nuts

Walnuts have a high concentration of DHA, which is a type of Omega 3 fatty acid shown to improve brain performance in adults while helping stave off cognitive decline. One study has even suggested that mothers who get enough DHA in their diets have smarter children.

9. Dark chocolate

So, what makes dark chocolate such a great brain food? The answer is found in the flavonoids that it contains. The cocoa, high in flavonoids, has been found to help keep your heart and brain healthy. In fact, the Salk Institute has found initial evidence that eating dark chocolate can help improve brain blood flow which in turn can help improve memory.

10. Acai Berries

Like blueberries, acai berries contain a compound called polyphenol that can trigger the brain to clean and recycle toxic proteins that can lead to memory loss and mental decline. Dr Shibu Poulose, from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Ageing, stated: “In aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up within the brain. This research has shown that the polyphenolics in berries have a beneficial effect. They have been seen to restore the brains normal housekeeping function.”

Tell us about any other great brain foods that you eat to keep your cognitive sharpness at its peak. Also, why not read the following books to understand more about how some of these super foods can help keep your mind and body healthy into old age: