Your daily morning coffee ritual could be helping your heart.A study conducted by universities Harvard and Brigham and the Women’s Hospital in Boston has concluded that moderate caffeine consumption (people who consumed more than three cups of coffee a month) had a 17 per cent reduction in the relative risk of BCC (basal cell carcinoma) versus individuals who drank less than one cup per month. A growing body of research also suggests that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia, and have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes. Coffee also contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium, which help the body use the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar (glucose). In type 2 diabetes, the body loses its ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively.

Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 65 per cent less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers. In 2009, a study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study showed a 20 per cent lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all.

Too much coffee, however, if you are pregnant, may increase the chances of giving birth to an underweight baby. New findings from a large Scandinavian study suggest current guidelines on caffeine consumption during pregnancy may not go far enough.

A daily dose of between 200 and 300 milligrams of caffeine – roughly equivalent to one cup of fresh coffee or two cups of instant – increased the risk of a baby being small for gestational age (SGA) by up to 62 per cent. Currently the World Health Organisation recommends a caffeine consumption limit of 300 milligrams per day for pregnant women. In the UK, Nordic countries and the US, the limit is set lower at 200 milligrams. However, the new study shows that even 200 milligrams per day of caffeine can increase SGA risk. Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer  082 513 4256•

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