Tag Archives: coffee

Health Reasons to Head to the Cafe More!

Hot beverages are enjoying the ‘good health’ spotlight more than ever lately, thanks to new research suggesting more pros than cons when it comes to the following drinks. According to studies conducted by Harvard University Medical School, both routine coffee and tea drinkers (minus added cream and sugar) are at lower risk for certain diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The benefits don’t stop there, let’s take a peep at some more pros a café may have to offer you:

Coffee: More Friend Than Foe?

So, what’s the real deal with coffee? For decades it was dubbed a health no-no, but various recent studies seem to debunk older ones, nudging coffee further toward the healthy food isle. More recent (and reliable) studies illustrate more benefits from drinking coffee than downfalls. While you should moderate caffeine intake, a cup of joe a day may be beneficial for many. Aside from containing disease-fighting flavonoids, coffee also contains potassium and manganese. It has been linked to lowering risk of developing certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes, gall stones and Parkinson’s disease. Check out our article on coffee and asthma to see how it may even help those with chronic respiratory issues.

The Benefits of Green and Black Tea

Tea of all kinds are quite rich in polyphenols, phytochemicals found in natural plant-based food sources that have disease-fighting antioxidant properties. Teas are shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Studies have illustrated that regular tea drinking (in combination with a healthy overall lifestyle) may help with weight loss and cholesterol control. Tea in moderation doesn’t appear to have any ill health effects (except perhaps the jitters in those sensitive to caffeine), and fits into a healthy diet nicely. Green tea in particular has shown promise in reducing the risk of certain cancers such as bladder, breast, lung and stomach.

Benefits of Herbal Teas

Though research on herbal teas has been limited and generally inconclusive, certain herbal teas have shown promise when it comes to aiding health, for example:

  • Oolong tea has linked to reducing cholesterol levels.
  • Research suggests chamomile tea may help lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, as well as vision and kidney problems.
  • Peppermint tea has anti-inflammatory effects and can help calm the intestinal tract, easing symptoms such as bloating and nausea (except for those who have GERD, peppermint can exacerbate that disorder).
  • Ginger tea also helps calm a bad stomach.

Hot Cocoa? Yes Please!

Cocoa is a nutritional powerhouse. It is rich in flavonoids, magnesium, manganese, calcium and zinc. Cocoa can help aid cramps, lower the risk of heart disease, among many other health benefits. Notice we said “hot cocoa” and not “hot chocolate”, as many store-bought hot chocolates contain unhealthful ingredients that counteract the health benefits of cocoa. To really get the best health effects of this yummy beverage, use real cocoa, your favorite kind of milk and stevia to sweeten.
There you have it! Some good reasons to keep sipping your favorite hot beverages! Though, it is important to note that drinking tea or coffee alone won’t make you immune to developing the aforementioned diseases, however, combining these drinks with a healthy diet that is rich in produce and low in processed and red meat will definitely help lower your risk of developing disease. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Caffeine – Good, Bad, or Ugly?

Millions of Americans enjoy waking up to a daily mug of joe, and some even need a few cups to get through the day. But what about all the hype surrounding caffeine? Should coffee lovers should worry?

What is Caffeine and Where Does it Hide?

Caffeine is a crystalline compound which acts as a natural stimulant (energy increaser) to the body’s nervous system. It is found in many edible items such as coffee, tea, certain sodas, kola beans and chocolate. Surprisingly, many medications and supplements even contain varying amounts of caffeine as a filler ingredient.

Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine

As long as most healthy adults stay within the 400mg daily recommended limit of caffeine they probably won’t have many issues, but some people are more sensitive than others to the effects of caffeine. If you consume too much or have a sensitivity, caffeine can spur the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Shakiness
  • Upset stomach
  • Fast heartrate
  • Heart palpitations

Who Should Limit Caffeine Use?

If you know you are caffeine sensitive you should cut down your intake drastically to enjoy a better quality of life. If you have a serious heart condition and have been advised by a doctor to cut down on the coffee, it is best to listen as caffeine can aggravate some heart conditions such as arrhythmias. Pregnant women shouldn’t consume more than 300mg of caffeine daily as it may have adverse effects on the fetus. Similarly, children must limit their intake to 2.5mg/kg which works out to about a can of pop a day for a young child.

Is It Really Addictive?

There is light contention surrounding this issue – some argue caffeine addiction is a myth, but most health professionals consider it to be a mildly addictive substance because of the brief withdrawal period people often experience when they reduce or cut out caffeine. Because of how caffeine effects the nervous system it can cause a slight dependence, but nothing compared to drugs or alcohol. People sometimes become irritable, experience blue moods, headaches, mild fatigue or brain fog for a while after quitting. So all in all it might be tough to kick the habit but caffeine withdrawal isn’t considered a medical match to contend with, it will just make for a few unpleasant days.

Potential Health Benefits of Caffeine

There has been research done on the effects of caffeine for asthmatics. It can mimic the effects of a bronchodilator medication called theophylline and can potentially help acute asthma symptoms such as wheezing and coughing. You can read more about this in our post on coffee and asthma. There have also been links drawn between moderate caffeine consumption and lowered risk of such cancers as mouth and tracheal cancer as well as a potentially lower risk of type 2 diabetes. More studies must be done before some of these conclusions are cemented but it seems caffeine isn’t all bad!

So, What’s The Verdict?

Clearly caffeine is a complex little number with positive and negative traits, but the bottom line seems to be as long as you tolerate caffeine well, enjoy it in moderation! However, if you find yourself exceeding the recommended daily limit or relying on caffeine too heavily you may need to re-examine your intake. Similarly, if you seem to experience negative effects with even a small amount of caffeine, you’d be best obliged to stay away. Basically, enjoy it responsibly!

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Can Coffee Help Asthma?

In short, yes, drinking enough coffee can help ease some of the symptoms of asthma such as wheezing and coughing because it contains caffeine, which acts like a bronchodilator. Specifically, caffeine mimics the effects of an older asthma medication called theophylline, which relieves breathlessness and wheezing by opening the airways.

Don’t Switch Your Meds For Perk

Studies have shown that drinking 2-3 highly caffeinated beverages such as coffee (coffee and tea are among the most caffeinated, followed by certain sodas) may help alleviate some asthma symptoms for even up to hours after initial onset. However, others argue you’d need too much coffee to see a significant benefit. Furthermore, coffee is not as effective as actual asthma medications so people certainly shouldn’t be putting down their puffers in place of a cup of joe. In an emergency where a asthmatic has no access to puffers, 2-3 cups of coffee could potentially help keep the stabilize their condition until emergency care is in place, but this isn’t foolproof. Some medical professionals do suggest a couple cups a day as preventative asthma care. Besides, most current asthmatic puffers work better and for longer than theophylline (with fewer side effects), so while coffee would be an okay substitute in a pinch, the effects may pale in comparison to today’s emergency asthma medications.

Can Coffee Interfere With Lung Function Tests?

Quality clinical trials have been conducted to look into just how closely caffeine mimics the effects of asthma medications, specifically when it comes to lung function tests. Many of these studies have shown that drinking certain amounts of coffee can actually sway a lung function test, making the person perform better than if they would have without the coffee. So the benefits may not be enough to stop an attack mid-wheeze, but there must be some merit to the coffee cure if asthmatics should avoid caffeine before performing a respiratory test!

Coffee Beans And Scents

There is little to no empirical research to back up this next claim, but many homeopathic and some medical professionals have suggested sniffing coffee beans for asthmatics who react very badly to scents. Taking a little baggie full of fresh coffee beans in public and having a little sniff could potentially block some scents from effecting you quite as adversely as without the blockers. Is there any truth to it? It is hard to say, but consider this: coffee beans have long been used to neutralize the nostrils between perfume testings, so why wouldn’t they be effective for blocking scents you may breeze by while shopping? Anything is worth a try even if it helps that tiny little bit.

The Bottom Line

So it seems having a few cups of coffee during a bout of wheezes can have a moderate bronchodilation effect, but it shouldn’t be something you rely on too heavily, and you certainly shouldn’t be replacing any puffers with coffee. However, it is good information to know and could indeed help someone in an emergency who doesn’t have access to medication and a couple cups of black coffee a day may well provide some day-to-day asthma relief. Just to note, a much more effective alternative medication for asthma attacks which many people unfortunately don’t know about is an adrenaline autoinjector. EpiPens may be for allergies, but they can save the life of an asthmatic having a serious attack just as effectively.

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