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Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention
by Yi-Fang Chu

Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

Currently the second most traded commodity in the world, just behind crude oil, coffee has an unquestioned significance in the lives of billions of people. This book comprehensively surveys current research on the health effects of coffee consumption, both good and bad, from protecting against diabetes and cancers to causing anxiety and dehydration.


Professing to be the first volume to recap what is presently known about the bioactive effects of the many compounds in a cup of coffee, the book begins with chapters on the history and chemistry of coffee followed by separate sections on the potential benefits and the possible concerns about the beverage.

Coffee and Alzheimer's

Coffee is only one component of the diet that may be preventative. Other studies support a role for the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, nuts, legumes, cereals, and fish, and indicate the importance of physical activity in preventing or delaying cognitive decline with aging.

Alzheimer's disease is not curable but is preventable... Given the high coffee consumption worldwide and the aging population in many countries, coffee's apparent ability to protect cognition could have important implications.

It is too soon to make specific recommendations regarding the optimum amount of coffee to prevent cognitive loss, but moderate consumption appears best.

"Coffee and Alzheimer's Disease: Animal and Cellular Evidence"

Coffee and Blood Pressure

Coffee has long been suspected to increase blood pressure in healthy subjects. Intake of 200-250mg caffeine (2-3 cups of coffee) is associated with an early elevation of systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.

The most recent meta-analysis of 16 randomized control trials that assessed coffee and caffeine intake revealed that regular coffee and caffeine intake is associated with blood pressure elevation; however, the increase in blood pressure produced by caffeine tablet ingestion was two to three times higher than that produced by regular coffee consumption despite equal mean doses of caffeine. This meta-analysis showed that the blood pressure of participants was higher in studies using caffeine tablets, suggesting that caffeine may induce the pressor effect, but other compounds present in coffee may modify this effect.

Taken together, these results show that coffee raises blood pressure acutely, but there is insufficient evidence to show that long-term coffee consumption causes hypertension.
"Coffee and Cardiovascular Diseases"

A Slaked Thirst

America’s thirst for coffee peaked in 1946, when everyone in the U.S. drank about 48 gallons a year on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s more than twice current consumption.

Essential Ingredients

Coffee contains a number of compounds that contribute to the flavor and bioactivity of the brew. Complex reactions take place during roasting at high temperatures and modify considerably coffee's chemical composition, with some beneficial compounds degraded and some created. A small amount of harmful compounds is also created during roasting; however, the beneficial compounds appear to predominate.

To obtain a functional, healthy coffee, it is important to consider every aspect of coffee production, starting with high-quality seedsroasted to light-medium to dark-medium color degree, preferably a low to medium temperatures.
Coffee Ingredients Puzzle

Medium-roast coffees contain relatively high amounts of antioxidant compounds compared with other food products, a considerable amount of niacin, low acylamide content, and typically no PAHs.

Decaffeinated coffee is indicated for individuals sensitive to caffeine's effects and those who wish to use coffee and an additional tool to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
"Coffee Constituents"

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