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Coffee: The New Health Food?


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#1 Lindsay

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 05:36 PM

Coffee: The New Health Food?

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Plenty of health benefits are brewing in America's beloved beverage.
By Sid Kirchheimer
WebMD Feature Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD

Want a drug that could lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and colon cancer? That could lift your mood and treat headaches? That could lower your risk of cavities?

If it sounds too good to be true, think again.

Coffee, the much maligned but undoubtedly beloved beverage, just made headlines for possibly cutting the risk of the latest disease epidemic, type 2 diabetes. And the real news seems to be that the more you drink, the better.

Reducing Disease Risk

After analyzing data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years, Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America's favorite morning drink, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But having six cups or more each day slashed men's risk by 54% and women's by 30% over java avoiders.

Though the scientists give the customary "more research is needed" before they recommend you do overtime at Starbuck's to specifically prevent diabetes, their findings are very similar to those in a less-publicized Dutch study. And perhaps more importantly, it's the latest of hundreds of studies suggesting that coffee may be something of a health food -- especially in higher amounts.

In recent decades, some 19,000 studies have been done examining coffee's impact on health. And for the most part, their results are as pleasing as a gulp of freshly brewed Breakfast Blend for the 108 million Americans who routinely enjoy this traditionally morning -- and increasingly daylong -- ritual. In practical terms, regular coffee drinkers include the majority of U.S. adults and a growing number of children.

"Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful," says Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist at Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies, which conducts its own medical research and tracks coffee studies from around the world. "For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good."

Consider this: At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk. Other research shows that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones.

Coffee even offsets some of the damage caused by other vices, some research indicates. "People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don't," says DePaulis.

There's also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood, and even prevent cavities.

The Benefits of Caffeine

Is it the caffeine? The oodles of antioxidants in coffee beans, some of which become especially potent during the roasting process? Even other mysterious properties that warrant this intensive study?

Actually, yes.

Some of coffee's reported benefits are a direct result of its higher caffeine content: An eight ounce cup of drip-brewed coffee contains about 85 mg -- about three and a half times more than the same serving of tea or cola or one ounce of chocolate.

"The evidence is very strong that regular coffee consumption reduces risk of Parkinson's disease and for that, it's directly related to caffeine," DePaulis tells WebMD. "In fact, Parkinson's drugs are now being developed that contain a derivative of caffeine based on this evidence."

Caffeine is also what helps in treating asthma and headaches. Though not widely publicized, a single dose of pain reliever such as Anacin or Excedrin contains up to 120 milligrams -- what's in a hefty mug o' Joe.

Boost to Athleticism

It's also caffeine -- and not coffee, per se -- that makes java a powerful aid in enhancing athletic endurance and performance, says physiologist and longtime coffee researcher Terry Graham, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada. So powerful, in fact, that until recently, caffeine in coffee or other forms was deemed a "controlled" substance by the Olympic Games Committee, meaning that it could be consumed only in small, designated amounts by competing athletes.

"What caffeine likely does is stimulate the brain and nervous system to do things differently," he tells WebMD. "That may include signaling you to ignore fatigue or recruit extra units of muscle for intense athletic performance. Caffeine may even have a direct effect on muscles themselves, causing them to produce a stronger contraction. But what's amazing about it is that unlike some performance-enhancing manipulation some athletes do that are specific for strength or sprinting or endurance, studies show that caffeine positively enhances all of these things."

In other words, consume enough caffeine -- whether it's from coffee or another source -- and you will likely run faster, last longer and be stronger. What's enough? As little as one cup can offer some benefit, but the real impact comes from at least two mugs, says Graham. By comparison, it'd take at least eight glasses of cola to get the same effect, which isn't exactly conducive for running a marathon.

But the harder you exercise, the more benefit you may get from coffee. "Unfortunately, where you see the enhancing effects from caffeine is in hard-working athletes, who are able to work longer and somewhat harder," says Graham, who has studied the effects of caffeine and coffee for nearly two decades. "If you a recreational athlete who is working out to reduce weight or just feel better, you're not pushing yourself hard enough to get an athletic benefit from coffee or other caffeinated products."

But you can get other benefits from coffee that have nothing to do with caffeine. "Coffee is loaded with antioxidants, including a group of compounds called quinines that when administered to lab rats, increases their insulin sensitivity" he tells WebMD. This increased sensitivity improves the body's response to insulin.

That may explain why in that new Harvard study, those drinking decaf coffee but not tea beverages also showed a reduced diabetes risk, though it was half as much as those drinking caffeinated coffee.

"We don't know exactly why coffee is beneficial for diabetes," lead researcher Frank Hu, MD, tells WebMD. "It is possible that both caffeine and other compounds play important roles. Coffee has large amounts of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and tocopherols, and minerals such as magnesium. All these components have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism."

Meanwhile, Italian researchers credit another compound called trigonelline, which gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste, for having both antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties to help prevent dental cavities from forming. There are other theories for other conditions.

Children and Coffee

How does this brew affect growing minds and bodies? Very nicely, it seems, says DePaulis. Coffee, as you probably know, makes you more alert, which can boost concentration. But claims that it improves a child's academic performance can be exaggerated. Coffee-drinking kids may do better on school tests because they're more awake, but most task-to-task lab studies suggest that coffee doesn't really improve mental performance, says DePaulis.

But it helps kids' minds in another way. "There recently was a study from Brazil finding that children who drink coffee with milk each day are less likely to have depression than other children," he tells WebMD. "In fact, no studies show that coffee in reasonable amounts is in any way harmful to children."

On the flip side, it's clear that coffee isn't for everyone. Its legendary jolt in excess doses -- that is, more than whatever your individual body can tolerate -- can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and cause rapid heartbeat. Coffee may also raise cholesterol levels in some people and may contribute to artery clogging. But most recent large studies show no significant adverse affects on most healthy people, although pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis may still be advised to limit or avoid coffee.

The bottom line: "People who already drink a lot of coffee don't have to feel 'guilty' as long as coffee does not affect their daily life," says Hu. "They may actually benefit from coffee habits in the long run."



Medically updated March 4, 2005.

SOURCES: Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist, Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies; research assistant professor of psychiatry, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville. Terry Graham, PhD, University of Guelph, Canada. Frank Hu, MD, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston. Hu, F. Annals of Internal Medicine, January 2004; vol 140; pp 1-8. Benedetti MD, Neurology, July 12, 2000; vol 55; pp 1350-1358. Ross, G. The Journal of the American Medical Association, May 24, 2000; vol 283; pp 2674-2679. Gazzani, G. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Feb. 27, 2000. Leitzmann, M. The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 9, 1999, vol 281; pp 2106-2122. Giovannucci, E. American Journal of Epidemiology, June 1, 1998; vol 147; pp 1043-1052. Pagano, R. Chest, August 1988; vol 94; pp 387-389.


SOURCE:- WebMD Inc.
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#2 Dooin' it

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 06:36 PM

Oh man..........

And I haven't had ANY coffee or soda since this most recent episode of anxiety set in almost 2 months ago.


That's a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time for me to have not gone w/ a cup of coffee or soda!!!


Usually in winter I can easily down 2 or 3 cups of coffee provided it's cold enough outside.


And especially since it seems that it's the *CAFFEINE* that has the beneficial effects.........what does us anxiety prone people do in the interim?????

:hearts:
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Recommended reading........"Feeling Good; The New Mood Therapy" by Dr. David Burns

#3 Jkm

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 08:13 AM

Go to decaf or 50/50 and be very careful not to drink too much. :hearts:
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I have GAD. I worry about everything, lol!

#4 KarenMac

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 10:10 AM

Oh man..........

And I haven't had ANY coffee or soda since this most recent episode of anxiety set in almost 2 months ago.
That's a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time for me to have not gone w/ a cup of coffee or soda!!!
Usually in winter I can easily down 2 or 3 cups of coffee provided it's cold enough outside.
And especially since it seems that it's the *CAFFEINE* that has the beneficial effects.........what does us anxiety prone people do in the interim?????

:hearts:


I hear you, Doo'n it! When I was trying to taper off xanax I could not drink one drop of caffeinated anything. Now I am back on half dose of xanax and I can allow myself a quite diluted cup of coffee. I do miss it terribly. I used to drink several cups every morning.

#5 Andrew

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 11:24 AM

I have a big 2 pint mug of Mocha everyday
My health is a full time job

#6 lizard

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 12:56 PM

:hearts: Hey, I finally have a GOOD habit!
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#7 Panacea

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 04:51 AM

I googled caffeine+depression and came to the conclusion that 'coffee is bad, umkay'. There are many sites (some quite reputable) that assert that caffeine is a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant which causes a mild fight-or-flight response; ie STRESS. Long term caffeine 'use' means chronic stress to the CNS. For me, stress equals depression, hence the coffee has to go.


Q: Now what am I supposed to think? :hearts:
A: WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*puts kettle on*

#8 truthseeker

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:06 AM

(bump!)

I'm afraid that I have to agree about coffee being bad. I love it and used to down it by the shot when I was a waitress. However, now my nerves are so sensitive and my body is quite exhausted.. it's dangerous to push myself that extra mile.

The other evening before work, I took a brain energizing supplement called Vinpocetine which supposedly helps you to think clearer and better and energizes your brain. I became so hyperactive that I did all of my usual work on double speed.. and nearly collapsed into a coma the next day! Seriously, I couldn't get up, dizzy, my head was banging, it was awful.. I thought, hmm, maybe it's not so good to try and energize or enhance myself like that.
:hearts:

#9 Muskoka Loonie

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:22 AM

Coffee isn't "bad" ... it's a "necessary evil" :hearts:

I must admit I used to be a multi-cup coffeeholic. Now I have one first thing in the morning, followed by another cup after supper.

#10 sober4life

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 02:32 PM

Coffee is not really for me. I keep drinking and drinking until I'm so nervous I can't stand it. I can't drink the coffee with less caffeine or no caffeine because when I do it I want to get energy from it. I know it's bad for me but I can't seem to stop.

#11 gentle sun

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 04:32 PM

I love coffee especially in the morning. I could drink 4 cups. But it makes me very nervous, jittery and my heart starts beating rapidly. I heard that decaf coffee raises your cholestrol by 16 percent. You are better off drinking regular coffee if you have high cholestrol and it doesnt make you too nervous. But they say if you have high blood pressure, caffeine is not for you, better stick with decaf. That was on the news awhile back. Interesting. GS

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#12 sober4life

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:38 PM

When I was in rehab I drank at least 30 cups of regular coffee a day everyday.

#13 truthseeker

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 01:10 AM

Wow. When I was a waitress I used to serve a girl every morning with shots of espresso. She would have one after another after another until time ran out, and chain-smoke cigarettes. I was always shocked at how healthy and happy she was, and yet by 8.30 every morning she had downed like 9 espressos and smoked 12 cigarettes :hearts:

#14 Sweetday

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 08:24 AM

I am so confused! :hearts:
I Drink 1 or 2 cups of black tea a day and I have been trying to stop this cause I've read about all the bad things that caffeine does.
Now what should I do?

#15 raindrops_on_roses

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 09:26 PM

I am soooooo addicted to coffee and soda. :hearts:
Tomorrow holds such better days.

#16 DaKrazy1

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 04:13 PM

I stopped drinking coffee for 6 months due to doctor’s orders, because of my GAD. I felt less nervous when I quit. Now I can tell the difference between the coffee nervousness and general anxiety, so yet again I'm addicted to 2 cups in the morning. If I don't drink it I get a head ache :hearts: It really helps with any drowsiness from sleeping pills and when I have too much I usually get a cleaning urge and that is much needed in my apartment.

If it has health benefits then even better.

#17 Sheepwoman

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 09:22 AM

I love coffee! I knew it had some good benefits and after reading the article, I am more of an advocate for caffiene. I usually have one or two pots of coffee every morning. It doesn't affect my anxiety or stress levels. Actually, it makes me calmer. Maybe it's just the warmness and flavor of the brew. I drink regular coffee and I like it strong. It's a great start-up for my day. I can drink it at night and still be able to fall asleep with no problems. Think I'm unusual or just a coffeeholic?
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#18 number1usjoe

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 09:53 AM

Yes coffee is great I worried it would eventually give me kidney stones like my aunt got.


I gave it up for like 40 days but now I drink it just to function on level where I can read and think at proper pace.

#19 violetspike

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:49 PM

I love coffee! I knew it had some good benefits and after reading the article, I am more of an advocate for caffiene. I usually have one or two pots of coffee every morning. It doesn't affect my anxiety or stress levels. Actually, it makes me calmer. Maybe it's just the warmness and flavor of the brew. I drink regular coffee and I like it strong. It's a great start-up for my day. I can drink it at night and still be able to fall asleep with no problems. Think I'm unusual or just a coffeeholic?
Sheepwoman :hearts:

Lucky!!! Wish I could have it strong and be calmer too! You sound like my husband. He can drink so much caffine and never get nervous or sick and can always fall asleep no matter if he just drank like mad. I can barely handle a half a cup of 50/50 some days. I get so anxious which makes the heart beats fast, thoughts are a bit overwhelming, cannot focus, irritability, which can lead to depression...I usually do mostly all decaf and put in a small bit of regular to make myself feel like I'm getting something out of it.

Never heard of coffee beans being antioxidants-NICE!
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#20 Ajumbledmess

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:30 PM

i dont drink it all day but i do love a good cuppa joe. i love to go to starbucks, joemuggs and dunkin donuts. the flavors taste so good. but i cant even think about leaving the houde wo a regular big cup of coffee

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#21 Guest_john_v_r_*

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 01:32 PM

Coffee is a mixed blessing for me. In the first stages it greatly improves my energy, concentration and mood. Then, if I've had more than a cup or two, I go into an unpleasant jumpy, jittery phase. And finally, the crash—depression and anxiety return with a vengeance. You just don't get somethin' for nothin'.

By the way, you have to drink coffee shortly after it's brewed to reap the antioxidant benefits. These compounds are broken down by heat, so the longer your coffee cooks on the hotplate the less antioxidant it contains.

#22 mulder_00

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 03:46 PM

After reading that, I believe I will go make a urn of coffee!!!

I love going to cafées to drink a coffee and read or usually there's music on. The only thing, since I am prone to anxiety, was when I was working regularly and coffee was made all the time , was I drank waaaaay too much.


I don't know if anyone watches the TV show Scrubs, but the have a little in-joke about Starbucks and coffee mania..


Now off to have a coffee...

Bram

#23 mccoffee

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Posted 05 February 2007 - 09:58 PM

it's good to know I'm finnaly worth something woo hoo :hearts:

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Posted 06 February 2007 - 05:05 PM

I couldn't drink coffee if you paid me. Can't stand the taste. Never could. Now chocolate on the other hand ... yumm. When I had to give up tea (gives me heartburn) I started drinking hot cocoa for a while - which is a nice replacement if you miss having something tasty and hot. But dark chocolate by itself - best of all - yummm. :D

#25 flippingout

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:58 AM

i love coffee as much as the next enthuasiast, but has anyone else noticed that by drinking coffee they have a smaller food appetite? i tend to drink 3-4 cups a day.
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#26 crazykaz

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 08:59 AM

hey

black coffee two surgers it has relaced fags since i quiet a week ago i ave been addicted to coffee i never used to like it but now i love it and drinking one right now yumm

CK xx
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#27 mccoffee

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:42 PM

black tea has more caffine then coffee most teas do

#28 DeeBear

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 11:14 PM

black tea has more caffine then coffee most teas do



Pound for pound, yes, that's true. However, it takes a much larger volume of tea leaves to make a pound, and a pound of tea leaves will make much more tea than a pound of ground coffee beans will make of coffee. Since coffee is therefore brewed stronger, the drink itself contains more caffeine than the equivalent volume of tea.
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#29 liveweyerd

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 11:34 PM

I just can't do it....why counteract my anti-anxiety med. And caffeine makes me need to counteract it with a higher dose of xanax.
I love the flavor and ritual but it has to be decaf for me.
On the occasions I have "forgotten" and ordered iced tea at a restaurant......I am a mess and do not sleep. Or should I decide to treat myself to a Dr Pepper...love it, hard to give up....well, I really pay the cost.

It IS a hassle to remain decaf. I have to take my own drinks with me such as caffeine free coke or sprite zero with me.

The general public and restaurants, family friends visits...it's caffeine, caffeine, caffeine.

One does get tired of bottled water all the time!

Herbal teas are great.....but just not the same fix as the coffee....so I do it, but I drink it my way!
I also make decaf iced tea. So it doesn't feel like such a sacrifice.

It is easy to develop a tolerance to caffeine such that one is not aware of its stimulant effect until one has significantly cut back.

Hubby thought he was making a compromise with me by mixing 1/2 and 1/2....I flipped went out bought my own coffeepot.
Ha, the next day he made full brew. LOL He was so strung out he couldn't sit still and was doing housework!

NOW he knows what I was talking about!
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#30 silverclaws

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 05:53 AM

Yippee!!!!! I am finally doing something that might actually be good for me.If it were not for coffee,I would not function at all,just be a permanent dopey ball of tiredness.

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#31 hereforwhat

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 01:17 AM

I have always been told to stay away from coffee, chocolate, sugar, and alcohol to help with my depression. I have found an all natural way to substantially help depression in my life. It is ACAI berries. They are proven to help with many alments of the body. They are high in antioxidants. The berry is being recommended by psychologists to help with depression. I was told by a friend of my mom's. She has been taking it because it helps her depression imensely. It has likewise helped me. I would tell everyone to give it a shot for a week. After a week I believe you will feel a huge difference. best of luck
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#32 Waynef48

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 04:45 PM

I'm a caffeen junkie. I love strong black coffee. If I have to do any long distance driving out to the country i need a lot of coffee to help keep me alert and awake. If I'm to do a seminar, studies etc, i need coffee to help me concentrate and focus. my heart doesn't race or anything like that. Coffee helps my asthma, helps me breath. Thanks for the info on coffee. I guess like every thing else,"everything in moderation" is the key.

Wayne.

#33 Magicseaweed

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 07:29 PM

I don't drink coffee to stay awake, I just drink it for pleasure. I was born in Jamaica, where we have pretty decent coffee, so it might be a cultural thing for me. I limit myself to 2 or less cups a day, because I agree excess coffee would affect blood pressure and the nervous system. However, a lot of these studies don't go in the specifics about sugar being added to the coffee etc. I'm sure the sugar makes it a lot worse.

#34 K_otic

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 08:24 AM

drinking lots of coffe cant be good... lol
throw away yesterday, today is a brand new day.. :)

#35 laralee

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 12:56 PM

I have a tendency to ignore most of these research conclusions. I know in a few Weeks of months from now there will be another study with different conclusions. :hearts:
Michelle
Live each day as if it were your last. You never know what tomorrow may bring
99% of all families are dysfunctional the other 1% are in denial.

#36 mccoffee

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 09:54 PM

yeah coffee is one of those things reasearch tends to go back ,and forth with it is a fruit being it's a fruit it can't be that bad

#37 Pariah

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 06:18 PM

I drink a lot of coffee, but I find after a few cups of normal strength caffene, I get jittery and hyper. I mainly drink decaf now. I couldn't live without coffee.

#38 Ajumbledmess

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 08:25 PM

I love Loca Moca Monster Java! But my everyday staple is 3 splenda, 2 creams, and gimme it fast in the AM and no one will be hurt

Posted ImageAjumbledmessPosted Image

"Sometimes we need to hurt in order to grow we must fail in order to know we must lose in order to gain some lessons are learned best through pain."







#39 Whitelily

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 07:51 PM

I don't think coffee is good for you with the caffeine and acidity. I do think it is a tasty treat and can lift my spirit a little! I really enjoy my occasional cafe mochas.
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it". Helen Keller

Stay aware, in present moment, practice mindfullness *Accept what is * Be gentle with yourself * Don't take thoughts so seriously * Question thoughts * Don't suppress thoughts or feelings, allow them to be *Don't oppose, judge, or label thoughts, just acknowledge they are there * Stay focused on the heart * And the lifeforce * Take time to meditate * Don't take things personally * Create a space* Release old programs * Eat healthily * Exercise * Lighten up and laugh

Keep on keepin' on.

#40 Moonlight_Magic

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 04:25 AM

i love coffee, im a coffee drinker and always have around 5 cups day, but i have to drink decaf as im somewhat sensitive to caffiene. It actually gives me migraines/headaches and irritates my anxiety, it doenst help them.

Im not overly keen on tea, and if i do drink it i like it weak and sweet. Whereas with coffee, i like it strong but not with too much sugar (if any at all, i dont usually add sugar to my coffee at home, but i may add one sachet of brown sugar to a cappucinno from starbucks or wherever if im out and about). I dont use artificial sweetners, as for some reason, i dont think they are good for you. I think its better to either take my coffee with no sugar or sweetners at all or occassionally allow myself a tea spoon of regular sugar now and then. Im gradually edging towards a diet thats free from artificial additives and tend to opt for more natural foods these days (although i still eat some processed additive saturated products, just not in large quantities). I tend to feel better if i eat a more natural diet and my system feels less sluggish as a result. It also seems to help with my mood swings.

I used to take coffee with 2 sugars when i was younger, but i trained myself to like it with no sugar at all. Its amazing how you can train your tastebuds to like something you never used to like if you consume it often enough. Now coffee with two sugars tastes far too sweet for me. Its like salmon, i hated that when i first tried it, now its my favourite fish!

*sips at my cup of unsweetened decaf coffee*

Edited by Moonlight_Magic, 17 June 2008 - 04:39 AM.

"Oneday your prince will find you, mine just got lost on the way and was too stubborn to ask for directions!" (annoymous)

All quotes below by me and whomever happened to come up with them before i did (lol):

"Beneath the pessimism that is depression im an eternal optimist, so please don't be fooled by my seeming negativity!" *ahem*

"Finding acceptance from the world around us, begins with finding acceptance of the self".

"You dont have to achieve great things to be a great person!"

"On the road of life im a sunday driver. Im taking the scenic route at a speed im comfortable with. So if you want to overtake me, please feel free, but dont keep beeping your horn at me, its irritating. Thankyou"




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