Wednesday, August 16, 2006

dr. blomoff, please read me more often

"the findings, which appeared in may in the american journal of clinical nutrition, suggest that antioxidants in coffee may dampen inflammation, reducing the risk of disorders related to it, like cardiovascular disease. several compounds in coffee may contribute to its antioxidant capacity, including phenols, volatile aroma compounds and oxazoles that are efficiently absorbed.

in another analysis, published in july in the same journal, researchers found that a typical serving of coffee contains more antioxidants than typical servings of grape juice, blueberries, raspberries and oranges.

'we were surprised to learn that coffee quantitatively is the major contributor of antioxidants in the diet both in norway and in the u.s.a.,' said rune blomhoff, the senior author of both studies and a professor of nutrition at the university of oslo."

of course nothing in this nytimes article is news to long-time bccy readers. anti-oxidant researcher and chemist dr. joe vinson's been a pal of ours for years, and he regularly provides updates on this info, for example, here.

we here at bccy have been glued to this anti-oxidant thing since dr. joe's first hamster study in 1999 (at the time, we had to search like a fiend for coffee news! now it comes to our inbox! sweet!). the thing is that in these studies above, other scientists have been able to confirm and extend dr. joe's findings.

but dr. blomoff, with all due respect, if you'd been reading here, or found dr. joe's hamster-study piece, you'd have known that coffee is the key provider of these groovy anti-oxidants. yay.

on the other hand, as a very close reader of coffee studies -- but i'm not a doctor and i can't play one on the internet -- i personally think the times article appears to recommend too many cups of coffee a day for women. the article seems to suggest that up to 6 cups is ok.

let's assume those are 6-oz. cups, or 36 oz. coffee a day; the article doesn't mention cup size, so i'm worried people are now going to run out and drink 6 ventis (120 oz!) from the mermaid!

i still think, putting a lot of studies together, that men shouldn't drink more than 24 oz. of coffee a day (4 cups), and that most women will want to stick to 12-18 oz. a day (2 or 3 cups). coffee is beneficial -- in moderation.

since we're all about girls here at bccy, let me be frank: if you are on the pill, those hormones generally slow the body's processing of caffeine. so many women tend to get more punch from the same coffee, if you will.

the doctors never tell you about this minor side effect and it's hard to find out about. so if you drink the same amount of coffee you did before you started the pill, you may not realize you are going to enjoy the effects of the caffeine longer.

this makes it easy to "overdrink," so to speak. so if you're on the pill, maybe that 3rd cup should be half-caf. . .depending on how you find your own body chemistry, of course.

also, some preliminary studies suggest that drinking large amounts of caffeine from any source may increase the length of time it takes to get pregnant. thus if you're trying for a baby, you might do some research on your own, talk to your doctor, and keep the coffee to 2 cups a day during that time.

or again, consider a temporary move to half-caf. . .

finally, notice where the healthful compounds lie! in the volatiles!

long-time readers know i often talk about the parts of the coffee bouquet and the delightful flavors it contains. much of these flavors are in the volatiles, which diminish quickly with age.

so here all our coffee tendrils meet up in one single rope: drink fresh-roasted, fresh-ground whole bean coffee. fresh coffee will have more of these volatiles (gases and vapors), and thus probably more anti-oxidants.

you can get fresh coffee from your local nabe independent specialty roaster. just another a reason to enjoy!

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posted by fortune | 5:24 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 2 comments

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