Saturday, September 18, 2010

Greek Coffee Drinkers Have Healthier Hearts, Less Hypertension, and a LOT More Phenolic Compounds in Their Bodies

A study that included a group of men and women on an island in Greece highlighted several beneficial results that appear to be associated with the consumption of coffee---and these results, including reduced hypertension in coffee-drinnkers, are statistically significant. The study's researchers (published by the European Society of Cardiology in August 2010) were especially rigorous in their analysis, because for a long time there has been a widespread misperception that coffee consumption is linked to hypertension.

Let’s look at the study: The 435 subjects in this study, who ranged from 65 to 100 years old, were evaluated based on how much coffee they drink. Those who consumed 1 to 2 cups a day were healthier, compared with those who rarely drank coffee. There were several notable benefits. Coffee drinkers compared with non-coffee-drinkers had:

• A lower prevalence of diabetes (22% vs. 34%, P>.02)
• A lower body mass index (28% vs. 29 kg/m2, P=0.04)
• Higher creatinine clearance levels (which means better kidney function) 70.2 vs. 65 mL/minute, P=0.05)
• A lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease (19% vs 26%, P=0.04)

Interestingly, this study confirmed many of the things we know about coffee, including its association with a lower risk of diabetes.

The question “What is it about coffee that seems to make people healthier in incremental, but meaningful and cumulative ways?” keeps coming up.

Researchers point to many factors, but phenolic compounds figure prominently. The phenolic compounds in coffee are health-bestowing entities that are found in plants and function in a number of ways.

Phenolic acids are essential for plant growth and protecting plants from pathogens. These compounds protect against oxidative stress. The ability to potentially incorporate these compounds into processed foods has become a hot topic lately. Everyone wants a piece of the phenolic action! The best sources of phenolic compounds are berries (blueberries have 85 mg/100 grams) and coffee, which has 97 mg/100grams.

Perhaps it is the phenolic compounds in coffee that make coffee-drinkers feel like Greek gods and goddesses, giving them the strength to run marathons and the perseverance to more effectively stave off the effects of aging. So keep drinking coffee....

Agapó̱ ton kafé (translation: I love coffee)!


Joe the Novelist said...

Nicole, did the study control for living on a beautiful Greek Island?! But seriously, I'm glad for the good news about coffee, because I love coffee. I'm having my first cup of the morning as I write.

Nicole Gray-Chan said...

Hi Joe,
It's interesting you should ask. Actually, according to the commentary, "Most of the coffee drinkers in the study consumed traditional Greek coffee, which have higher levels of phenol compounds than coffee typically consumed in the United States.

So, the answer in reality is a resounding "yes!"

databass said...

I'm buying a Briki and will start boiling my coffee so I can get the full effects!