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Coffee and tea may protect your liver

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Your morning cup of coffee or tea may do more than just perk you up.

IN a study announced last week, an international team of researchers led by Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina suggests that increased caffeine intake may reduce fatty liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Worldwide, 70% of people diagnosed with diabetes and obesity have NAFLD, the major cause of fatty liver not due to excessive alcohol consumption, the researchers said.

Currently, there are no effective treatments for NAFLD except diet and exercise.

Using cell culture and mouse models, head researcher Dr Paul Yen and his team found that caffeine stimulated the metabolisation of lipids stored in liver cells and decreased the fatty liver of mice that were fed a high-fat diet.

According to the findings, researchers said that the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may be beneficial in preventing and protecting against the progression of NAFLD in humans.

The findings appear online and will be published in the September issue of the journalHepatology.

“This is the first detailed study of the mechanism for caffeine action on lipids in liver and the results are very interesting,” Yen said. “Coffee and tea are so commonly consumed and the notion that they may be therapeutic, especially since they have a reputation for being ‘bad’ for health, is especially enlightening.”

Prior research has already associated caffeine with decreased risk of liver disease and reduced fibrosis in patients with chronic liver disease. Last year, a separate study published in the same journal found that drinking coffee reduces the risk of advanced fibrosis in those NAFLD. – AFP Relaxnews

via Coffee and tea may protect your liver – Nutrition | The Star Online.

Friends or foes?

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Caffeine … is it your friend?

 

COFFEE

Australians love their coffee. Yet many people feel guilty when they reach for that second or third cup. We know that too much can affect sleep quality and that pregnant women should have no more than four cups a day as higher amounts have been linked to stillbirth. We also know coffee can cause heart palpitations and even exacerbate anxiety disorders.

But there is increasing evidence that coffee drinking has a good side.

American journalist Jean Carper, author of 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s, says coffee is emerging as a tonic for the ageing brain. She notes a Finnish study that found men and women who drank three to five cups a day in middle age were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s 20 years later.

The study aimed to analyse links between coffee consumption at midlife and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease risk in late life. After an average follow-up of 21 years, 1409 people aged 65 to 79 were reassessed in 1988.

The study concluded that coffee drinkers at midlife had a lower risk of these diseases later in life compared with those drinking no or only little coffee. The lowest risk (65 per cent decreased risk) was found in people who drank three to five cups a day.

Coffee may also have a role in improving movement impairment caused by Parkinson’s disease. Canadian research published last year in the journal Neurology showed caffeine could help people who already have the disease. For the study, 61 people with Parkinson’s who suffered daytime sleepiness and some motor symptoms were given either a placebo or a pill with 100 milligrams of caffeine twice a day for three weeks, then 200 milligrams twice a day for three weeks – the equivalent of two to four cups of coffee a day.

After six weeks, the half who took the caffeine supplements showed improvement in Parkinson’s severity, speed of movement and stiffness.

Carper notes that coffee is an anti-inflammatory that helps block cholesterol in the brain and lower the risks of stroke, depression and diabetes.

However, a recent study by the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research and the University of Western Australia shows the benefits derived from coffee drinking are dose dependent.

Initially, the researchers set out to prove the cardiovascular benefits of coffee, but instead discovered it can worsen obesity and related diseases.

Researchers focused on a compound found in coffee, known as chlorogenic acid (CGA), and found that in high amounts it can make humans fat in areas particularly detrimental to health.

They found that mice given the equivalent of five regular cups of coffee developed double the amount of the dreaded visceral fat – the dangerous type that gathers around the abdomen.

EGGS

Scrambled, poached or fried? The health benefits derived from an egg depend on your answer. But if we focus on a plain old boiled egg, the health news is good compared with a decade ago.

People with high cholesterol used to be advised to steer away from eating too many eggs, as it was believed that cholesterol in foods raised blood cholesterol levels. However, research has shown that cholesterol is influenced by the saturated and trans fat we eat rather than the naturally occurring cholesterol in foods.

It is the ”bad” or saturated fat content in foods such as biscuits, chips, butter and processed and takeaway food that causes cholesterol levels to rise.

Australian Dietary Guidelines now recommend we consume more eggs and that up to seven a week is acceptable. Eggs contain important nutrients including folate, omega 3 fatty acids, and arginine (a precursor for nitric oxide, which increases blood flow), which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

And, they won’t make you fat. One egg contains five grams of fat – most of which is the ”good”, unsaturated fat that you need to be healthy. An egg contains only about 1.5 grams of saturated fat and no trans fat.

Eggs are also a natural source of at least 11 vitamins and minerals and are a high-quality protein.

Senior CSIRO research scientist Professor Manny Noakes says: ”Due to the variety of nutrients found in eggs, they can make a significant contribution to increasing daily nutrient intakes. In fact, research shows egg consumers have higher intakes of vitamins A, E, B12 and folate compared with non-egg consumers.”

A University of Sydney study is also investigating the role of eggs in managing type 2 diabetes. Researchers aim to identify the potential health benefits of a high egg diet in pre-diabetics and those with type 2 diabetes. Participants are following a specific high-egg diet (two or more a day for six days a week) or a low-egg regime (fewer than two a week).

Research leader Nick Fuller says: ”We are addressing the limited amount of precisely conducted research on eggs in a high-risk population such as type 2 diabetics to clear up misconceptions about how many eggs diabetics can actually have.” Researchers aim to complete the study in six months.

SALT

We need salt to survive. It helps our body maintain the correct balance of fluids, in order to transmit nerve impulses and maintain proper muscle function. But we don’t need to add salt to our food. We can get enough from what is found naturally in foods by eating a balanced diet. We know that too much salt in some people can cause high blood pressure, putting them at risk of heart disease and stroke.

Salt is made up of two compounds – sodium and chloride. If you choose to add salt, it’s better to use the iodised type because of the body and brain’s need for iodine. The World Health Organisation says pregnant women need about 66 per cent more iodine than non-pregnant women. It recommends pregnant or breastfeeding women consume 250 micrograms a day as a total daily intake, which is almost impossible to achieve through diet alone.

In 2010 the National Health and Medical Research Council advised all Australian women who were pregnant, breastfeeding or considering pregnancy to take a daily supplement of 150 micrograms of iodine. The only exception is women with thyroid issues, who should speak to their doctor before taking a supplement.

Most foods are relatively low in iodine, so to ensure more people have enough, WHO and UNICEF are recommending universal salt iodisation.

In 2009 in Australia, iodised salt replaced the non-iodised variety in all breads sold (except organic).

Dr John Eden, endocrinologist at the University of NSW, says: ”Australian soils are naturally deficient. That’s why we suggest that all women pre-conception and during pregnancy take an iodine supplement … If you are iodine deficient then your baby could lose 10 or 20 IQ points or be born with hearing difficulties.”

Salt does not have naturally occurring iodine in it. Eden says: ”People should choose the iodine-infused salt; not just women, men too. Men can get goitre if they are lacking in iodine, which is when the thyroid enlarges and can protrude from the neck. You can overdo it, though: if you consume too much you can cause the thyroid to shut down. It’s about balance.”

OIL

Not so long ago it was thought that all oil was bad for us. The well-documented benefits of the Mediterranean diet, with its healthy amounts of olive oil, have taught us that good oils have a place in a healthy diet, and have been linked to reduced levels of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Associate Professor Tim Crowe from the school of exercise and nutrition sciences at Melbourne’s Deakin University says: ”There was a period in the past few decades when a low-fat diet was very much recommended and this involved some restriction of all fats, including oils.”

Restriction of fats was related to reducing cholesterol levels and kilojoules.

Further research showed that very-low-fat diets are not always advantageous for weight control and that reducing unsaturated oils is counterproductive to heart health.

Oils are a complex mixture of different fatty acids, including the polyunsaturated omega-3s and omega-6s, monounsaturated, and saturated types.

The fats that we ingest from oil have important structural roles in maintaining nerve impulse transmission, memory storage, and tissue structure.

Fats are the major component of cell membranes and help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Crowe says: ”Long-chain omega 3 fats found in oil are important in maintaining heart rhythm and have been shown to prevent sudden death from heart attack in high-risk individuals.”

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/friends-or-foes-20130726-2qnxg.html#ixzz2aOhhbtkb

via Friends or foes?.

3 cups of coffee a day linked with vision loss and blindness

How switching to decaf could save your sight: Drinking three cups of coffee a day linked with vision loss and blindness

  • Coffee increases the risk of eye condition glaucoma
  • Those with a family history most at risk
  • No association found with tea, coffee or cola

By Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED: 13:02 GMT, 5 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:47 GMT, 5 October 2012

Coffee: More than three cups a day may increase the risk of glaucoma

Coffee: More than three cups a day may increase the risk of glaucoma

 

Drinking more than three cups of coffee a day may increase the risk of vision loss and blindness, according to American research.

Even moderate amounts of the drink make developing the devastating eye condition glaucoma more likely.

The study, published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, suggests coffee lovers reduce their intake to reduce their chances of developing the condition.

Glaucoma occurs when the drainage tubes within the eye become slightly blocked.

This prevents eye fluid from draining properly, causing pressure to build up.

When the fluid cannot drain properly, pressure builds up.

This can damage the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, and the nerve fibres from the retina (the light-sensitive nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye).

The researchers, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, suggest that compounds found in coffee may increase pressure within the eyeball, causing a vision-destroying condition known as exfoliation glaucoma.

This occurs when material is rubbed off both the eye’s iris and lens, which then clogs up the eyeball’s fluid-draining system, leading to increased pressure within the eye

However no correlation was with other caffeine products such as tea, cola or chocolate.

Time to switch: Unlike coffee, other sources of caffeine such as tea, cola and chocolate were not associated with sight loss

Time to switch: Unlike coffee, other sources of caffeine such as tea, cola and chocolate were not associated with sight loss

 

Previous research has found that Scandinavian populations have the highest occurrence of exfoliation glaucoma.

They also have the highest consumption of caffeinated coffee in the world.

The new study assessed more than 120,000 people in the UK and U.S. who were over 40 and not suffering from glaucoma.

They completed questionnaires about how much coffee they drank and their medical records were checked for a history of glaucoma.

Those who drank more than three cups a day were had an increased risk of developing glaucoma compared with those who abstained.

Women with a family history of glaucoma also had an elevated risk.

Coffee may not be without its benefits, however. Research published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine found drinking four to five cups a day possibly reduced the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among other conditions

GLAUCOMA: THE DISEASE THAT DESTROYS VISION

Glaucoma affects 1% of people over 40 and around 5% of people over 65.

Those at increased risk include diabetics, people of African or black Caribbean origin and those with a family history of glaucoma.

The condition develops very slowly and, as a result, usually has no noticeable symptoms.

Sight loss also goes unnoticed because the first part of the eye to be affected is the outer field of vision (peripheral vision).

The damage then slowly works inward, towards the centre of the eye.

DailyMail

Coffee and cake lowers IVF success

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Pregnant women are advised to drink no more than a few cups of coffee a day

Regular trips to the coffee machine or having a diet packed with saturated fat have been linked to lower IVF success rates by fertility experts.

One study suggested heavy coffee drinking was as bad as smoking for IVF success rates.

Another showed saturated fats lowered the number of eggs that could be used in IVF, while a ‘Mediterranean diet’ boosted birth rates.

Experts say lifestyle affects both the chances of IVF and natural conception.

Dietary habits

Dr Ulrik Kesmodel, a consultant gynaecologist, presented data at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) meeting in Turkey.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

This work reinforces the need for a good lifestyle for those trying to have a baby; eat and drink in moderation, and don’t smoke”

Richard Kennedy Secretary of the International Federation of Fertility Societies

It involved 3,959 women having IVF at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

One in 20 women were drinking more than five cups of coffee a day. This group of women were half as likely to become pregnant as those who did not drink coffee.

The researchers said this was as damaging to the chances of a successful pregnancy as smoking.

Dr Kesmodel said: “It does seem reasonable, based on our results and the evidence we have about coffee consumption during pregnancy, that women should not drink more than five cups of coffee a day when having IVF.”

It is not known whether drinking tea or other caffeinated drinks would have the same effect.

Dr Kesmodel said: “The assumption is that caffeine is the culprit although we don’t really know. There are so many substances within coffee.”

The British Coffee Association said a there was no need to completely cut caffeine from the diet as there were “no harmful effects” with low levels of consumption.

Its executive director, Dr Euan Paul, said: “For pregnant women or those trying to conceive, an upper limit of 200mg of caffeine per day is perfectly safe.

“This is the equivalent of 2 to 3 cups of coffee.”

Harmful fats

A separate analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health, in the US, investigated how differences in 147 women’s diets affected IVF.

Diets high in saturated fats, such as those from butter, fatty meats and cheese, lowered the number of eggs a women produced for IVF.

Meanwhile a diet high in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and avocados, was associated with an increase in the live birth rate, although there were too few women in the study to say exactly how big the increase was.

The lead researcher Dr Jorge Chavarro said that women should consider adapting their diet anyway as it is already considered to be good for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

He said: “We know that these types of diets are generally healthy and from that perspective I think it makes total sense not only for women undergoing assisted reproduction, but anyone, to follow these kinds of diets.”

Richard Kennedy, the secretary of the International Federation of Fertility Societies, said that “many” lifestyle choices made it harder to conceive both naturally and through IVF.

He said: “This work reinforces the need for a good lifestyle for those trying to have a baby; eat and drink in moderation, and don’t smoke.”

BBC

Coffee: Drink More, Live Longer?

Coffee: Drink More, Live Longer?

Older coffee drinkers who really like their cup of joe appear to have a leg up in the longevity department.

David Trood / Getty Images

David Trood / Getty Images

Kicking your morning off with a cup of joe may provide more than a caffeine boost. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that older coffee drinkers — even those who swill decaf — have a lower risk of death than those who don’t drink coffee.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages, both in the United States and worldwide,” the authors of the study write. “Since coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant, coffee drinking is not generally considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle. However, coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds.”

Previous studies have looked at the link between coffee consumption and major causes of death with varying results. ”There has been a concern that drinking coffee might increase risk of death, but I think our findings show evidence against that,” says lead researcher Dr. Neal Freedman of the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of the NIH.

In the study, researchers from the NCI analyzed 229,119 men and 173,141 women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study. The participants filled out a questionnaire about their coffee intake at the beginning of the study in 1995-1996 and were followed until their death or the study’s completion in December 2008. The participants were sorted into 10 coffee-consumption-frequency categories ranging from zero to six cups per day. The majority of the participants also indicated whether they were regular or decaf drinkers.

In relation to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups per day had approximately a 10% lower risk of death. Men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had a 10% lower risk of death compared with men who did not drink coffee. Women who drank six or more cups a day had a 15% lower risk.

Overall, coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke cigarettes and consume red meat and alcohol than those who didn’t drink coffee. However, when the researchers adjusted for these risk factors, they found that drinking coffee was inversely related to death. Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections, but there did not seem to be an association with decreased cancer deaths.

Since the study was observational only, the authors couldn’t conclude that coffee drinking actually reduces death risk. The researchers note that coffee intake was recorded in a self-report at a single time point and may not reflect long-term consumption patterns. As a result, more research is needed to see if the trend holds true across varying populations. But the researchers speculate that if the relationship between coffee drinking and decreased death risk is directly associated, it likely has to do with coffee’s many compounds.  ”There are an estimated 1,000 different compounds in coffee that can have a range of effects,” says Freedman. “Caffeine is the most studied, but we don’t think it has to do with caffeine because the same results were found in decaf drinkers. Coffee also has a lot of antioxidants, and many other compounds are associated with inflammation and insulin resistance.”

Further analysis of coffee’s compounds is needed to understand how the mechanisms work. And how you drink your coffee also matters. “How the coffee is prepared is also important,” says Freedman. “Some people like espresso, some like French press, and these can change the compounds in the coffee and we were unable to study that.”

Coffee abstainers, don’t panic: Freedman indicates there’s no need to hurry out for a Venti latte. “It’s important that we look at these findings cautiously,” he says. “The different compounds in coffee can have different effects on health for different people.”

Time

Coffee shown to prevent brain damage in diabetics, protect against memory loss

GRANT TERRY/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

The caffeine in coffee has been shown in one study to help prevent memory loss in advanced diabetes.

Researchers in Portugal have found that the consumption of caffeine could protect against memory loss associated with advanced diabetes.

It’s an area of study that’s not well developed, say scientists from the University of Coimbra: how badly managed type 2 diabetes — which accounts for 90 percent of all diabetic cases in the world — affects the brain, causing memory loss and learning problems.

After observing the effects of type 2 diabetes in mice, researchers found that the neurodegeneration caused by the chronic illness exhibited the same stages of several other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

For their study, released this week and published on PLoS One, researchers compared four groups of mice: diabetics, normal, with and without caffeine.

The results showed that pumping caffeine — equal to eight cups of coffee a day — in the diabetic mice accomplished several things: reduced weight gain, lowered blood sugar levels and prevented memory loss specifically in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that often atrophies in diabetics.

Mice with type 2 diabetes exhibited abnormalities in their synapses which facilitates communication between neurons, and astrogliosis, a phenomenon in which there’s an abnormal increase of cells surrounding neurons.

But mice fed a diet high in caffeine fared better than their counterparts suffering from less brain damage, a finding that could have wider implications in the treatment of other cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Despite the findings, researchers stopped short of advising people to drink eight cups of coffee a day.

Said researcher Rodrigo Cunha in a statement: “Indeed, the dose of caffeine shown to be effective is just too excessive. All we can take from here is that a moderate consumption of caffeine should afford a moderate benefit, but still a benefit.”

Meanwhile, a 2010 study also found that caffeinated products like coffee and tea could likewise help prevent the onset of diabetes, after the mice in the their experiment developed better insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.

Read more: NYDailyNews

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