The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide

Harvard Health Publications
Order the Book
Contact Us
Sign up for our free e-mail newsletter, HEALTHbeat.  
Email Address:
 
First Name (optional):
 
 
Special Health Information Reports
Incontinence
Weight Loss
Prostate Disease
Vitamins and Minerals
Aching Hands
See All Titles
Browse Health Information
Common Medical Conditions
Wellness & Prevention
Emotional Well Being & Mental Health
Women’s Health
Men’s Health
Heart & Circulatory Health
About the Book
New Information
About the Team
Order the Book
Return to the Family Health Guide Home Page
  Harvard Health Publications
contact us



Don't Blame the Bean

Coffee is earning a better reputation on the health front as a result of several studies. In summer 2005, Harvard School of Public Health researchers evaluated studies including almost 200,000 people and concluded that coffee drinkers were less likely to develop diabetes than people who didn’t drink coffee. A couple months afterward, two reports suggested that coffee blunts spikes in blood pressure due to mental stress and makes people more alert by perking up the brain’s short-term memory center.

At about the same time, University of Scranton chemists reported that coffee beat out fruits and vegetables as the number one source of antioxidants for Americans. It turns out that a cup of coffee delivers a decent jolt of potentially protective antioxidants along with caffeine and hundreds of other substances. And since we drink so much — the average American has three cups a day — the antioxidants add up.

And in early 2006, more good news came from a Harvard-based study of more than 150,000 female nurses. Over the 12 years that researchers followed the women’s health, habitual coffee drinkers didn’t develop high blood pressure any more often than women who didn’t drink coffee. In fact, women who drank three or more cups a day were 7%–12% less likely to have developed high blood pressure.

There was a hint of bad news for people who prefer decaffeinated coffee. A study presented at the American Heart Association’s fall 2005 meeting randomly assigned coffee drinkers to three to six cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated black coffee a day. The researchers saw complex changes in blood fats and cholesterol among the decaf drinkers that could tip the balance toward heart disease. This result, and what it means for long-term health, need further study before anyone who drinks decaf should feel the need to abandon it.

February 2006 update

Healthy Eating Special Report
Click to enlarge

Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition

Forget your old ideas about healthy eating. Research done since the 1990s shows beyond all doubt that you can lower your risk for the most serious diseases of our time by following a healthy diet. Healthy eating, based on this new science, can ward off 25% of all cancers and, combined with exercising regularly and not smoking, can prevent possibly 90% of cases of type 2 diabetes. Healthy Eating supplies the information you’ll need to choose safe, nutritious foods. Read more

Back to Previous Page




©2000–2006 President & Fellows of Harvard College
Sign Up Now For
HEALTHbeat
Our FREE E-mail Newsletter

In each weekly issue of HEALTHbeat:

  • Get trusted advice from the doctors at Harvard Medical School
  • Learn tips for living a healthy lifestyle
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in health
  • Plus, receive your FREE Bonus Report, Living to 100: What's the secret?

[ Maybe Later ] [ No Thanks ]