For more than three centuries coffee was the beverage of choice in the old coffee houses of London and Europe and that continues in the Starbucks coffee houses that are found almost everywhere today. Somewhere along the way rumors were heard that the consumption of coffee, and caffeine, could be harmful to your health. Studies from a variety of sources not only refute that rumor, but indicate that coffee and caffeine can provide a variety of health benefits. A few examples are listed below.
- Harvard researchers have found that by blocking adenosine, a compound found in the body, caffeine helps slow the build-up of a toxic brain plaque that is associated with Alzheimer's disease and may help keep dopamine molecules active in the brain and prevent the onset of Parkinson's disease.
- The stimulant effect of caffeine may help boost people's moods and thereby reduce suicidal thoughts. According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, respondents who drank two to three cups of coffee a day cut their suicide risk by 45 percent.
- Studies conducted in the U.S. and Sweden found that older women who drink more than a cup of caffeinated coffee each day have 20 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke. Findings were similar in older men.
- Studies from Johns Hopkins University showed that a 200 mg caffeine pill helped boost memory consolidation.
- Paired with other pain relievers, caffeine helps bring about faster relief, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. And that combination required 40 percent less of the other drug to bring about the same amount of relief.
- Consuming caffeine before or after a workout can help reduce muscle soreness.
- A study published by U.S. National Library of Medicine determined that caffeine seems to open airways and help asthmatics breathe easier.
However, like any other stimulant, physicians advise that coffee — and caffeine — should be consumed in moderation. If you are concerned about your caffeine consumption, you should discuss it with your doctor.