New research out of Harvard is strengthening the argument that coffee helps curb the risk of Type II diabetes. So coffee is alongside nuts, citrus, leafy greens, beans and sweet potatoes on the list of super healthy foods that help prevent diabetes.
According to the Harvard research, the main reason coffee came off so unhealthy in early studies is because it goes so damn well with a cigarette. Researchers in the 1970s had trouble sorting out which health problems were tied to coffee and which were tied to smoking (though the "looking awesome" effects of both are well-documented).
Nowadays the benefits of coffee are generally well known. Studies have linked it to positive effects on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression, throat cancer and prostate cancer (breast cancer has 5ks and the NFL, prostate cancer has coffee and mustaches). New evidence suggested it can stave off dementia.
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The rule of thumb seems to be drinking more is better than drinking less, and drinking caffeinated is better than drinking decaf. But then it gets dicey. According to a study recently published in the Mayo Clinic's journal, drinking more than four cups a day increases the risk of dying for people under 55. Over a 17-year study, researchers found that people who drank on average 28 cups of coffee a week were more likely to die. Not from anything in particular. Death just makes more frequent visits to people who go through nearly 30 mugs in a week.
Then other cancer research centers suggest that drinking an excess of four cups a days is actually the most effective way to use it to guard against prostate cancer. Some studies have suggested that coffee's health benefits are most potent when consuming 12 or more cups a day, which honestly sounds painful. Especially considering the poop-inducing effects of that volume of coffee.
For such an ubiquitous drink, coffee seems to confound us and regularly requires more study, more unraveling and more explaining. I'm not going to give it up any time soon (I'm drinking it as I type), but if someone offered you a substance that may prevent dementia, could protect your prostate, and maybe keep diabetes away, but only if you drank enough to kill you before your 50s, would you really take it?
Probably. Especially if it tasted so good with a cigarette.