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The good news about Coffee

by:  William Campbell Douglass II, MD

Coffee the king of the antioxidant hill...

I love it when there's good news about java - almost as much as I like a nice hot "Cuppa Joe" (or three) every day.

After all, I've been championing the joys and benefits of java since long before the marketing geniuses behind Starbucks came along and made hot coffee cool again.  I was singing the praises of the caffeine, vitamins, and antioxidants in Juan Valdez's favorite drink back in the 70s and early 80s - when the mainstream was doing everything it could to malign this "black gold" for health.  And lately, there's plenty to crow about on the Coffee/Java front…

According to a 2005 study by researchers at the University of Scranton, Americans now get more healthy, cancer-fighting antioxidants from coffee than from any other dietary source.  Overwhelmingly so, in fact.  This includes the litany of largely needless (and sometimes downright harmful) vegetables, grains and fruits the mainstream pundits seem always to recommend INSTEAD of a cup or three of delicious Joe.

The research, presented at a recent national meeting of the American Chemical Society (the world's largest scientific society, according to Medical News Today), compared the relative antioxidant content of 100 different food items and beverages in the American diet - including mainstream darlings corn, grapes, and beans.

Interestingly enough, Dates topped the list from an antioxidants-per-serving standpoint.  But since Dates are not widely considered a staple of American eating habits, the top honors went to the much more commonly consumed coffee (more than half of Americans drink it).  It wasn't clear from the research summary I read whether red wine or dark beer was considered in the study.  These are the only two things I can think of that might give java a run for its money, antioxidant-wise.

Of course, the ever-PC authors of the study were quick to point out in the summary that high levels of dietary antioxidants don't necessarily correlate to high levels in the body, owing to the poorly-understood process by which these polyphenols are absorbed into the bloodstream.  They also stated that Americans still don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, and that these are better sources overall for antioxidant nutrition…

But they're wrong on both counts.  They'd have more credibility if instead of modifying the study's real findings to mollify the mainstream, they'd just admit that once again, hard evidence shows that coffee carries with it major health benefits - like protection against liver and colon cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's and more, not to mention the great lift it gives to the mind and spirit every day.

And that lift must really be something for one Omaha man.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is nutritional in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

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Last modified: June 28, 2015