A Cup of Polyphenols?


I used to share  house with a scriptwriter and producer who lived on coffee. As you might imagine, I found it all to easy to reply "Yes." when your flatmate says they are making coffee and, did I want one too? I went from the occasional coffee drinker, to the regular coffee drinker to the much more than regular coffee drinker.

You may think drinking four to six coffees a day is too much, but recent research is leading scientists to say it might actually be good for us.

Now here's a qualifier; there's coffee, and then there's coffee. Research indicates that instant coffee does not provide the same benefits as the real-McCoy. So, when I mention 'a cup of coffee' from here on in, I mean two things - 1. a CUP, and 2. Coffee.

A cup is not a mug. Generally speaking two cups equals a mug. And if you have one of those large milkshake sized takeaway 'cups' from Starbucks, shame on you, stop reading now or repent!

The remarkable thing for coffee lovers is that their java provides more benefit to them as they age. A 10-year study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona indicated that people who drank four cups of coffee per day had a 64% decrease in their risk of dying from any cause. However, two cups of daily coffee for those aged 45 and over, lowered the risk of dying during the study period by 30%; no such association was seen in younger adults.

The study began in 1999 with the purpose of discovering how a decade of coffee consumption would impact their health and involved around 20,000 participants.

As it is with most other studies of this type, factors such as gender, lifestyle, overall health, diet and other sociodemographic information was taken into account. Also, other lifestyle choices such as smoking or whether participants added sugar to their coffee were also factored into the end result, but in all the cases, such factors didn't impact the lower death risk for coffee drinkers.

Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in mid-2017  examined people in ten countries throughout Europe and involved more than 521,000 people. Among Europeans, the researchers reported an association between coffee consumption and lowered risk of death from any cause, and the relationship did not vary between countries.

The study revealed, in all age groups, people who drank more coffee were found to have a 7% to 12% lower risk of dying prematurely. The results included people who drank decaffeinated coffee, as well as regular coffee.

Like other plant-based foods, coffee has its own unique set of phytonutrients and beneficial compounds that can positively impact your health, such as those already known to fight inflammation, one of the most common and insidious contributors to age-related health challenges.

Coffee is said to improve energy levels and block an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. This in turn boosts other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine, leading to enhanced firing of neurons. Add to that, every cup of coffee provides a healthy dose of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, manganese, niacin and polyphenols. 

Many of the health benefits associated with polyphenols are related to their role as antioxidants. Antioxidants are known for their ability to combat cell damage.

The upshot of all this is that brain function is improved, along with memory and general cognitive function.

I've just fired up the espresso machine. Fancy a cup?