A collection of postings on a range of issues is available on our website (www.mjacksongroup.ca). This month’s post is again from Ken Pope’s listserv, where he kindly provides daily summaries of current articles in the field.
The New York Times includes an article: “The Health Benefits of Coffee” by Jane E. Brody.
Here are some excerpts:
The latest assessments of the health effects of coffee and caffeine, its main active ingredient, are reassuring indeed.
Their consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, depression, suicide, cirrhosis, liver cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer.
In fact, in numerous studies conducted throughout the world, consuming four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee (or about 400 milligrams of caffeine) a day has been associated with reduced death rates.
In a study of more than 200,000 participants followed for up to 30 years, those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, were 15 percent less likely to die early from all causes than were people who shunned coffee.
Perhaps most dramatic was a 50 percent reduction in the risk of suicide among both men and women who were moderate coffee drinkers, perhaps by boosting production of brain chemicals that have antidepressant effects.
As a report published last summer by a research team at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded, although current evidence may not warrant recommending coffee or caffeine to prevent disease, for most people drinking coffee in moderation “can be part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Dr. Walter C. Willett, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Overall, despite various concerns that have cropped up over the years, coffee is remarkably safe and has a number of important potential benefits.”That’s not to say coffee warrants a totally clean bill of health. Caffeine crosses the placenta into the fetus, and coffee drinking during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and premature birth. Pregnancy alters how the body metabolizes caffeine, and women who are pregnant or nursing are advised to abstain entirely, stick to decaf or at the very least limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams a day, the amount in about two standard cups of American coffee.
The most common ill effect associated with caffeinated coffee is sleep disturbance. Caffeine locks into the same receptor in the brain as the neurotransmitter adenosine, a natural sedative.
Dr. Willett said it’s possible to develop a degree of tolerance to caffeine’s effect on sleep. My 75-year-old brother, an inveterate imbiber of caffeinated coffee, claims it has no effect on him. However, acquiring a tolerance to caffeine could blunt its benefit if, say, you wanted it to help you stay alert and focused while driving or taking a test.
Among [other ingredients in coffee] with positive effects are polyphenols and antioxidants.
Polyphenols can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes; antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory effects, can counter both heart disease and cancer, the nation’s leading killers.
Countering the potential health benefits of coffee are popular additions some people use, like cream and sweet syrups, that can convert this calorie-free beverage into a calorie-rich dessert.
“All the things people put into coffee can result in a junk food with as many as 500 to 600 calories,” Dr. Willett said.
A 16-ounce Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, for example, has 51 grams of sugar, 15 grams of fat (10 of them saturated) and 370 calories.
With iced coffee season approaching, more people are likely to turn to cold-brew coffee.
Now rising in popularity, cold brew counters coffee’s natural acidity and the bitterness that results when boiling water is poured over the grounds.
Cold brew is made by steeping the grounds in cold water for several hours, then straining the liquid through a paper filter to remove the grounds and harmful diterpenes and keep the flavor and caffeine for you to enjoy. Cold brew can also be made with decaffeinated coffee.
Ken Pope, Melba J.T. Vasquez, Nayeli Y. Chavez-Dueñas, & Hector Y. Adames: Ethics in Psychotherapy & Counseling: A Practical Guide, 6th Edition (publication date June 2021—John Wiley & Sons currently accepting preorders & faculty requests for evaluation copies)
Pope: Anti-Racism & Racism in Psychology as a Science, Discipline, & Profession: 57 Articles & Books (Citations + Summaries)
Pope: A Human Rights & Ethics Crisis Facing the World’s Largest Organization of Psychologists
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good person should be. Be one.”—Marcus Aurelius (April 26, 121-March 21, 180)