Drinking coffee not bad for you

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Dear Pharmacist: I read your "Diabetes Without Drugs" book, and I am on Step 3 feeling better, and have lost 18 pounds. I was surprised to see such positive remarks about coffee; you really seem to approve of that for diabetics. Why? Everything I hear is that it's bad. — M.E., Decatur, Ill.

Dear M.E.: After years of being blamed for contributing to everything from heart disease to alien abduction episodes, good news is brewing for the vilified coffee bean. I want to state right here, right now, that I think coffee itself is fine, especially if it's organically grown. The problem is all the other stuff that goes into making your latte palatable or scrumptious.

One Finnish study found that drinking three to four cups of joe daily can cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 27 percent in men and 29 percent in women. Another study, by The University of Sydney in Australia, found that a similar daily intake of tea resulted in a 20 percent reduction in the risk for developing diabetes.

And a very recent Harvard study found that consuming five cups a day slashed the risk for diabetes. Scientists found that certain compounds could reduce blood levels of a nasty inflammation substance (interleukin-6) by 60 percent. Blood vessel inflammation plays a role in the development of coronary heart disease, so this is a very significant finding.

I know we've all heard the litany of dangers associated with coffee consumption: Elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and homocysteine levels (another inflammation mediator), vasoconstriction, jitteriness and anxiety. As it turns out, these are thought to be only short-term effects.

The long-term effects are much better. In fact, the study cites that there isn't a clear long-term impact on blood pressure. And zapping the interleukin-6, and the inflammation it causes, may be why the temporary elevations of cholesterol are rendered innocuous, since it's believed that the only reason cholesterol clings to your artery walls is because of ... drum roll ... inflammation!

A new study from the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that women who drink four cups of coffee a day have a 20 percent lower risk of developing depression. A similar study previously done in Finland also correlated caffeine consumption among men with a lower incidence of depression and suicide.

Take it leaded like I do, you fellow wild-eyed bean lovers! Decaf coffee does not produce similar results.

This information is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Go to SuzyCohen.com.
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