Thursday, February 16, 2012

Coffee—the wonder drug!

I've been telling people for decades that my coffee consumption (which is a lot) isn't hurting me. Now I find it's actually helping me.

"I love the java jive and it loves me!"

According to a recent article by Marni Jameson from The Orlando Sentinel, coffee has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer's. This is especially good news to me, because my mother died four years ago in a local Alzheimer's care center.

More good news for me is that only 1% of people with Alzheimer's in their family get the disease; it's caused by a gene, but there are other factors that contribute: lifestyle, obesity, high cholesterol. (These are things I've read before, but it's always good to get them reinforced with more current references.)

According to the article:
For years, scientists thought that Alzheimer's was primarily genetic," said Gary Wenk, professor of Neuroscience at Ohio State University. "We now believe that, while there's a genetic component, Alzheimer's is primarily a lifestyle disease."

Further, activating the Alzheimer's genes "depends heavily on their lifestyles," said Stuart Lipton, professor at Sanford-Burnham Research Institute.

Obesity is a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to the article, because it is a risk factor for diabetes, and "diabetics have a two to three times greater risk of developing Alzheimer's," said Ira Goodman, a neurologist at Orlando Health.
All well and good, but where does coffee come in? Glad you asked. In a sidebar, "Ways to ward off Alzheimer's," it says:
Coffee drinkers and those who partake in a little wine each day also enjoy some protective benefits," said Gary Wenk. Long-term global studies have shown that those who consume five cups of coffee a day reduce their incidence of diabetes by 50 percent, and their protection increases as coffee consumption goes up.

Other brain healthy behaviors include keeping cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation under control. So to coffee and wine, add statin drugs, and keeping blood pressure and inflammation under control.
Whaddaya know! I do all those things. I drink coffee by the gallon, take a statin drug for cholesterol, take a low dose b.p. med, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds for the arthritis which came on me in my early fifties. "Those who developed arthritis early and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's."

That news "perks" me up. I turn on my coffee maker early in the morning and keep it going all day. Here is a picture of an early '60s GE percolator I picked up before Christmas at an antiques mall.

Through this spout flows my cure for Alzheimer's disease.

I don't drink any fancy blends, no flavored coffee, just whatever is on sale at the grocery store. My caffeine/coffee habit costs less for me to feed than if I were patronizing expensive shops like Starbucks. I drink my coffee black. I'm hoisting my cup to the bearers of glad tidings, those doctors and scientists, and the author of this article, who definitely made my day.

Tank up. Have another cup, and here's to a healthy brain! Cheers!


No comments: