Most of the media coverage about the health effects of drinking coffee focus on the negative, with warnings about cutting down on consumption for those who are pregnant or who have underlying problems which predispose them to high blood pressure or diabetes. However, when you look behind the headlines into the academic work which has been done into caffeine, there are numerous health benefits associated with drinking caffeinated coffee.
Probability versus Proof
All of the scientific research which has been done linking caffeine intake to better health outcomes is based on probability. All that can be said is that people who drink a certain amount of coffee and have a certain level of caffeine intake have a lesser chance of developing certain conditions than those who don’t. There is no cast iron guarantee that drinking coffee will help you avoid the health conditions which are mentioned. Issues like heart disease are caused by a huge range of factors including hereditary or genetic factors and lifestyle factors such as how much exercise the person is taking or whether or not they smoke.
What Conditions can be Affected by Caffeine Intake?
Some academic research carried out in 2004 examined almost 6,000 people who were considered to be at high risk of developing liver disease. They typically were heavy drinkers, obese or had other issues which are known to affect the liver’s working. The study concluded that the people in the study who had a higher intake of caffeinated drinks were less likely to develop problems with their liver than people who had a lower intake, despite the fact that they were in higher risk groups. Caffeine is not just present in coffee, and consumption of cola and tea were also found to have similar effects. The exact reasons for this effect are not known, but it is thought that the caffeine blocks receptors in the liver. More research is needed to establish exactly how the caffeine works and how this can be turned into a preventative treatment for those at higher risk of liver disease.
Caffeine also works to increase the function of pain relief medication. The effect has been proven in double blind trials, ruling out the placebo effect. Many painkillers are sold over the counter as a compound of paracetamol with caffeine. This means that the pain killers are more effective and the patient gets relief for longer from their pain.
There is also research which seems to prove a link between caffeine intake and lower probability of developing conditions such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes, but research into all of these is still at preliminary stages and more research is required on a larger scale to establish a concrete link.