Today brings good news for my colleague Jason, the man with the high-octane coffeepot. Earlier this year, research into the pharmacogenetics of caffeine metabolism had him a bit wound-up. But today Jason can pour himself another cup as he ponders the latest news: Researchers have found strong evidence that coffee reduces the risk of several serious ailments, including diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver. Yes, coffee even has antioxidents!
Rob van Dam, a scientist at Harvard and author of a review of studies into coffee and risk for diabetes, acknowledges that caffeine could possibly raise the risk for heart disease (by increasing blood pressure and slightly increasing homocysteine levels). But as he tells the New York Times,
I wouldn’t advise people to increase their consumption of coffee in order to lower their risk of disease … but the evidence is that for most people without specific conditions, coffee is not detrimental to health. If people enjoy drinking it, it’s comforting to know that they don’t have to be afraid of negative health effects.
Cheers, java lovers!
(For the non-coffee crowd: have you heard the tasty news about hot chocolate?)