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Coffee and Health

The history of coffee is filled with pronouncements regarding its effects on coffee drinkers – ranging from coffee’s divine quality to energize a mundane life, to be alternatively matched with edicts banning the evil brew as sinful and deadly to one’s health. During and after the late 1960’s, researchers conducted modern scientific studies to investigate the effects of coffee and caffeine on humans. Since then both have been implicated as a risk factor for a litany of diseases and health disorders including cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension osteoporosis, liver and kidney disease, and various forms of cancer. Thirty years later, largely due to improved scientific methodologies and the effort of the coffee industry, many technical inaccuracies of these early studies have been corrected. Most authorities now agree that there is no conclusive evidence linking coffee and caffeine consumed in moderation to the previously mentioned health problems.

The following information is widely available on the internet. We at The Lost Dutchman Coffee Company have compiled some interesting results of various studies:

In Japan and the United States, men consuming two or three cups of caffeinated coffee per day showed a 40% reduction in the risk of developing gallstones. Only slightly greater benefit was realized at intakes of four or more cups per day.

In Italy, Japan, and the United States, people who drank three to four cups of coffee a day created a risk reduction of 80% for liver cirrhosis than non-drinkers.

In a ten year study, women consuming more than two or more cups of coffee per day were 65% less likely to commit suicide.

No cancer correlation to caffeine has been found, except that people who smoke often do so at the same time that they drink their coffee.

Some studies indicate that people that drink four or more cups of coffee per day have a 25% lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to those who drink little or no coffee.

Caffeine can raise blood pressure for a few minutes, and in some cases hours. However coffee consumption does not seem to cause ongoing hypertensive disorder. If a person already has hypertension, however, a cup of coffee may temporarily raise blood pressure and this could ultimately increase a more immediate risk of stroke.

Coffee can increase stomach acid production and affect the closing of the valve between the stomach and esophagus, leading to reflux and heartburn. Note that coffee typically has a pH value of 5 – 5.5. This is considered “mildly acidic”. Caffeine and other compounds in coffee stimulate gastric acid production by the stomach. It is this acid that can cause an acid reflux event. Darker roasted coffee seems to minimize this effect to a degree.

Adults who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had 25% less asthma than non-coffee drinkers.

Coffee contains nearly 2,000 compounds in the final brewed cup – many being products of the roasting process itself. It is perhaps a combination of caffeine and these compounds that create some of the beneficial relationship listed above.


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