If you’re a baby boomer, you may have grown up hearing that coffee was not good for children: “It will stunt your growth.”
Today, we know that to be an old wive’s tale. We also know that coffee, like tea, is full of beneficial antioxidants.*
Coffee has been tied to the reduction of some cancers and other diseases. Here’s an overview of its benefits from the Harvard Medical School.
And now, according to studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, reported in EverydayHealth.com, coffee may also help fight type 2 diabetes.
The Harvard study found the more coffee people drank, the greater the protection against diabetes.
*There are many different types of antioxidants. Those in coffee are completely different than EGCG, the principal antioxidant in tea.
The study followed 41,934 men for 12 years and 84,276 women for 18 years. Men who reported drinking more than six cups of regular coffee per day cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes buy 50%, when compared to non-drinkers. Women cut their risk by nearly 30%. Decaffeinated coffee drinkers also showed benefits, but to a lesser extent.
Yet a recent study at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health supports consumption of decaf. It followed more than 28,000 postmenopausal women for 11 years. Those who drank at least six cups of coffee daily, particularly decaffeinated, had a 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers.
More than half of Americans drink coffee everyday, according to the National Coffee Association. In fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, according to a study by researchers at the University of Scranton.
What’s In The Coffee That Protects Against Type 2 Diabetes?
Researchers haven’t pinpointed the magic bullet as of yet. But both regular and decaffeinated coffees contain a high amount of the antioxidants chlorogenic acid (one of the compounds that provides coffee’s flavor) and magnesium. These ingredients can improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Says Sue McLaughlin, RD, CDE, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, “More study is needed to determine why and how the study results occurred and to determine recommendations going forward.”
She also notes that just one 6-ounce cup of regular coffee contains 103 milligrams of caffeine, a substance “that has been shown to increase blood pressure in some individuals.” (That’s a very small cup! At Starbucks a Tall is 12 ounces, a Grande is 16 ounces and a Venti is 20 ounces). Heavy coffee consumption also may increase cholesterol levels.
Speak with your healthcare provider, of course. But most people can keep drinking coffee in amounts they enjoy. There’s probably no reason to feel guilt over having an extra cup or two: It just may be good for you.
How Much Do You Know About Coffee?
Check out our informative Coffee Glossary.
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