Nauka dla Społeczeństwa

15.12.2017 aktualizacja 15.12.2017

Experts: Drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of many diseases

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Coffee does not increase the risk of diseases such as hypertension, as it was thought until recently, quite the opposite: it has a beneficial effect on our health and protects against many diseases - argued experts on Thursday during a meeting with journalists in Warsaw.

"There are still many myths about the adverse health effects of coffee, but the latest research suggests that it is not a risky product. It increases the body\'s potential and protects against dementia, Alzheimer\'s disease and some cancers, such as liver or colon cancer" - said Dr. Regina Wierzejska from the National Food and Nutrition Institute in Warsaw.

The expert emphasised that in 2016 the Institute included coffee as a recommended product in the revised Healthy Nutrition Pyramid. "It does not mean that you should drink coffee like other recommended products, but you do not need to worry that it can be harmful. So if you do not like it, you should not force yourself to drink it" - she added.

Head of the 3rd Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the Medical University of Warsaw Prof. Artur Mamcarz said that coffee does not increase the risk of hypertension. He admitted that caffeine can raise blood pressure, but the body gets used to it and over time begins to tolerate it better.

"In the scientific guidelines of cardiological societies, coffee has not been included among products that should be avoided due to hypertension or cardiovascular disease. But it is strongly recommended to avoid salting the dishes, so we should throw away salt shakers, not coffee machines" - emphasised Prof. Mamcarz.

According to a specialist, coffee protects against cardiovascular diseases rather than contributing to them. It may even act as some medicines because it has a diuretic effect like some cardiac drugs, such as diuretics used to treat hypertension.

"I am a supporter of coffee, I have been drinking it in large amounts for many years, 5 to even 10 cups a day. But drinking tea is just as beneficial for health" - said Prof. Mamcarz. The specialist added that you can drink large amounts of coffee (more than 5-6 cups a day), although it is uncertain whether its health effects are higher above this amount.

"Poorly composed diet, not coffee, is unhealthy for health" - stressed the cardiologist from the Medical University of Warsaw.

Dr. Sławomir Murawiec from the Polish Psychiatric Association, chief editor of the quarterly "Psychiatria" pointed out that the common belief that coffee can be addictive is incorrect. Coffee is not a stimulant and does not work like a drug, under the influence of which a person does not think about anything except drinking it. "It\'s only difficult to change the habits of regular coffee drinking" - added the psychiatrist.

Coffee makes us happy; many people find its taste and smell soothing. In addition, it helps fight stress, improves concentration, and can increase cognitive skills. There is evidence that 75 mg of coffee - that is, the amount found in one cup, increases attention and vigilance.

Specialists have confirmed that coffee can even protect against certain diseases of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer\'s and Parkinson\'s. "Some studies show that regular consumption of moderate amounts of coffee, 3-4 cups a day, may delay the development of dementia by an average of eight years" - said Dr. Wierzejska.

During the meeting, experts also argued that it is a myth that coffee flushes out magnesium from the body. It is also not true that coffee causes dehydration of the body (because of its diuretic effect). This can only happen as a result of consumption of a large amount of coffee, for example 5 cups in a short time.

"For 10 years now coffee has not been forbidden for athletes as a doping measure. They can have an espresso before the competition" - emphasised Dr. Wierzejewska.

The specialist explained that the beneficial effect of coffee on health is due to the fact that in addition to caffeine it contains many other valuable substances, such as polyphenols and antioxidants. Their content depends on the type of coffee as well as how it is brewed and prepared. "I would not even discredit instant coffee, it all depends on how it is made" - added Dr. Wierzejewska.

The meeting under the patronage of the National Food and Nutrition Institute was organized by the Foundation "Food, Physical Activity and Health". (PAP)

PAP - Science in Poland

Author: Zbigniew Wojtasiński

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