Caffeine blocks cholesterol, Alzheimers

April 4, 2008

coffee spoons
The BBC reports that a new study in the Journal of Neuroinflammation indicates that caffeine helps prevent high levels of cholesterol from causing dangerous substances to leak across the blood-brain barrier.

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In Defense of Coffee

March 8, 2008

In this day and age, it seems like everything that you enjoy comes complete with a Greek chorus of whiners telling you why you should avoid it.

Coffee is no different. Despite Starbucks opening new stores every 60 yards on any paved road, every wanna-be-self-helper tells you why you should give up caffeine, give up coffee, etc.

That’s what makes it particularly refreshing to see Lifehack have a go at what’s right with coffee.

Their list of coffee’s benefits includes:

  1. Better health through antioxidants
  2. Improved alertness
  3. Resilience to shifting schedules
  4. Improved socialization

Not bad for the devil’s drink.


Surprise — Caffeine boosts brain activity

December 1, 2005

From the “well duh!” department this morning, this just in from a group of Austrian researchers…

Apparently functional magnetic resonance imaging scans performed on the brains of 15 subjects who had just consumed caffeine equal to that found in two cups of coffee, showed increased activity in the frontal lobe where the working memory is located, and in the anterior cingulum that controls attention.

Dr. Florian Koppelstatter of the Medical University Innsbruck says they were able to see from the scans that caffeine exerted increased neuronal activity in distinct parts of the brain along with changes in behaviour.

The study participants who were subjected to a 12-hour period without caffeine and a four-hour period without nicotine, another recognized stimulant found in cigarettes, were apparently better able to remember a sequence of letters after consuming 100 milligrams of caffeine, and their reaction times on short-term memory tests also improved.

After twelve hours without caffeine and four hours without a smoke break, I’m guessing that their crankiness level increased considerably more than their short term memory skills…

Drink your coffee — it’s GOOD for you!

August 21, 2005

I occasionally get grief from well-meaning friends as to how drinking coffee is supposed to be bad for you. Maybe this is a leftover from childhood warnings (my parents always told me that coffee would “stunt my growth” — it didn’t then, and doesn’t seem to yet, more’s the pity), or from the “caffeine is bad for you” meme that seems to be coming from the people selling decaf…

In any event, much like green tea, and then tea in general before it, coffee now seems to be getting some respect from the medical community as actually being good for you…

Here are just a few random cites from the news recently…
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Starbucks to buy more African coffee

March 6, 2005

If you get your caffeine fix from Starbucks, apparently you’re soon to be drinking more African coffee….

Starbucks plans to raise its coffee purchases from Africa, although the bulk of supply will continue to come from Latin America, an executive with the world’s largest coffee retailer said on Sunday.

Starbucks plans to buy more African coffee (MSNBC)

I’ve not had a vast amount of African coffees (other than the occasional bit of Etheopian Harrar), so I’m wondering what all we can expect in the way of new tastes… Or if they’ll even do variatels, or instead just add these into some of their blends in place of similar tasting varieties…

The Coffee FAQ

March 3, 2005

Looking for the last word on the hows, whys, and techniques of coffee? You need look no further than The Coffee FAQ, kept up-to-date by the bug-eyed denizens of
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Drink Coffee & Lose Weight?

March 3, 2005

Apparently coffee can help you lose weight, at least according to this article from

They studied 10 older (65-80 yr) and 10 younger (19-26 yr) men who were moderate consumers of caffeine. Caffeine ingestion resulted in similar increases in both the old and young men for plasma caffeine levels; thus both young and old absorb caffeine equally well. Metabolic rate or energy expenditure increased similarly by 11% in young and 9.5% in the older men. According to the scientists, “older and younger men show a similar thermogenic response to caffeine ingestion, whereas older men show a smaller increase in fatty acid availability after a caffeine challenge. These metabolic differences are not related to alterations in norepinephrine kinetics or fat oxidation.” (8) A recent study presented at the International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference in Las Vegas showed that a functional coffee beverage that also contained bitter orange, hydroxycitric acid, and chromium produced a significant increase (up to 30%) in metabolic rate. (9) This particular study is the first presented on ‘functional coffee’ (i.e. coffee with added nutraceuticals).

I’m now scared to imagine how fat I might be if I didn’t drink coffee by the gallon…

You Asked: Is Black Tea Good For My Health?

April 2, 2004

Data emerging from several recent studies on black, green, and oolong tea – each one derived from the same plant species, camellia senensis – consistently demonstrate that tea may indeed give your diet a boost. The findings have sparked great interest, so here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions, courtesy of the Tea Association of Canada:

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Tea is a satisfying part of a balanced diet

April 2, 2004

(NC)—Tea news continues to stir the pot in Canada. Records show we drink as many as 7 billion cups of tea each year – and those who study it as a dietary factor are now telling us not to put on the brakes. Both black tea and green tea contain antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids, which are thought to be important cancer fighting agents. This, combined with its potential benefits against heart disease – plus zero calories and comparatively low levels of caffeine – is a sound reason to treat oneself to one or more cups of tea every day.

And while those who drink the 7 billion cups don’t seem to need advice, still connoisseurs insist on preparation precision to make the “tea treat” even better. Here, courtesy of the Tea Association of Canada, is a 5-step process for the perfect cup of tea:

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Coffee and Health

April 2, 2004

Coffee and health used to be a controversed theme in the seventies. Nowadays, moderate coffee consumption is rather exonerated from its supposed negative long term effects upon health.

My mother used to be one of those persons who teaches her offspring, in its early ages, that coffee is not bad. It is bad bad bad! In consequence, I managed to keep away from coffee. At least untill the difficult age of 10, when, as I remember, I was permitted to join mother and neighbour-friends at the coffee-tattle table.
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