Four cups of coffee is the perfect amount

A new study, which appeared recently in PLOS Biology, shows that a physiologically-relevant dose of caffeine protects cardiovascular cells from damage. That dosage amount? Approximately four cups.


Caffeine has long been associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. However, the link to these diseases was yet to be discovered. According to researchers Judith Haendeler and Joachim Altschmied, a mitochondrial protein, p27, may be the culprit. The protein is known to protect heart muscles from cell death, helping to repair the muscles after a heart attack. This research overturns the assumption that the elderly should avoid caffeine. This and over 100 studies have shown the beneficial aspects of coffee consumption in decreasing the risk of breast, colorectal, colon, endometrial, and prostate cancers.


Another recent study, this time conducted by NIH, showed that coffee consumption is related to a lower risk of all-cause mortality. The sample group included over 400,000 Americans aged 50 to 71. Another multinational study of over 500,000 Europeans confirmed the finding.


Coffee, however, should not be seen as a cure-all. Drinking four cups of coffee every day—the magical number—is not enough to give an individual’s sedentary lifestyle a pass. Regular exercise and a good diet still matter and may indeed be intervening variables in some of these studies. However, the shown statistical significance proves coffee’s ability to improve overall health. If you find yourself needing that fourth cup of coffee to make it to the end of your work day, go ahead and reach for it.


Read the original article at BigThink.

Why coffee could be the opposite of cannabis

Coffee News noticed this recent post from Live Science that looked at the ways in which the use of coffee and cannabis affected the biological effects of each drug. The analysis included expected results in the ways in which coffee activated xanthine and benzoate metabolism. Less expected where the coffee’s impact on the endocannabinoid, steroid metabolites (phytosterols), and fatty acids (acylcholines). This profile of biological interactions would indicate the possible for far more interactions between coffee and cannabis than previously considered.


Of course, this comes as little surprise to people who experience caffeine as a focus-inducing stimulant and who experience their cannabis as a soothing sedative. Still, the title is, if not misleading, at least an oversimplification. It’s not like these complex biological systems can be accurately viewed as simple “opposites,” although unquestionably they have both interacting effects that seem to be at odds with one another.


On the other hand, there is very little current evidence of the potential effects of the chronic use of both cannabis and coffee. To what extent is there a protective factor? To what extent, do these interacting drug effects lead to systemic risk and damage to essential body systems (cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory)? Does the combination help people function on a day-to-day basis by moderating the acute effects of each drug while still creating long-term health risks?


Read the full, original article at Live Science.

Wash reusable coffee cups after every drink, Public Health England warns

As the world becomes increasingly aware of environmental impact, individuals and communities have sought to reduce waste. From reusable water bottles and bags to brewing coffee at home, finding environmentally-friendly alternatives to standard one-time-use items is easier now than ever before. In fact, reusable coffee cup popularity has exploded in the past month; the English government plants to impose a 25p “latte tax” on disposable cups, and a number of major coffee chains have begun to offer special discounts for those who bring in their own travel mugs. These reusable coffee alternatives, however, may pose a separate risk—this time, to the individual’s health.

Public Health England has released a statement explaining that reusable travel cups must be cleaned after every use; failure to do so may result in the growth of potential harmful bacteria. The warning is directed at the rising number of office workers using reusable cups continuously throughout the day, often without washing them. Nick Phin, the deputy director for national infection service at PHE, said in the statement: “As with regular cups and glasses, wash and clean reusable cups thoroughly after every use.”

PHE explains that bacteria can grow when food or liquid builds up in the cup or around the mouthpiece—a particularly tricky section to clean. To hinder this buildup, the deputy director recommends filling the cup with soapy water, attaching the lid, and shaking for several seconds. This is especially important for coffee products containing dairy and sugar, as these add to the likelihood of growing potentially dangerous bacteria.


Read the complete, original article at The Telegraph.


Coffee may come with a cancer warning in California

California maintains a list of chemicals considered to be possible causes of cancer. Unfortunately, new data shows that acrylamide, a chemical created during the coffee bean roasting process, is on that list. In 2010, the nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court to address the potential risk. The suit targets several nationwide and international companies that make or sell coffee—this includes Starbucks, 7-Eleven, and BP. The organization alleges that the defendants: “failed to provide clear and reasonable warning” that drinking coffee may expose individuals to acrylamide.


Under the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (known colloquially as Proposition 65), businesses must provide customers with a “clear and reasonable warning” if potentially harmful agents are included in a specific product. The lawsuit claims these particular stores have failed to provide adequate warning, and the organization is demanding that informative signs be posted for convenient reading within the coffee shops.


This lawsuit, however, is only one step toward a larger goal. The attorney representing the nonprofit, Raphael Metzger, explained that the organization wants to reduce the amount of this particular chemical to the point where it poses no significant cancer risk. At the time of this posting, at least 13 of the defendants have settled and agreed to provide a warning.


Read the full, original article at CNN.