Is coffee a "health food" now?

Coffee is the most complex food known to man. It has 1200 flavor components. The nearest comparison is red wine with 450 chemical compounds in the flavor make-up. In most commercial blends there are 10 to 12 different coffees, from different farms (BBC, http://goo.gl/m2LwD).



Health Benefits of Coffee - MarketWatch video.

Coffee is not usually thought of as health food, but some recent studies suggest that it can be beneficial.

A 2005 JAMA meta-analysis concluded that habitual coffee consumption was consistently associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, caffeine, seems to have little to do with it. In fact, caffeine (C8H10N4O2) is the natural pesticide of coffee beans, paralyzing and killing insects that try to feed on them.

A Norwegian study found that women who drank 1-3 cups a day reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 24% compared with those drinking no coffee at all. At an average of 3 kg of coffee consumption per person per year, Americans are well behind world leader Norway at 11 kg (http://goo.gl/qxgg6).

Antioxidants in coffee may decrease inflammation, reducing the risk of disorders related to it, like cardiovascular disease. A typical serving of coffee contains more antioxidants than typical servings of grape juice, blueberries, raspberries and oranges.

References:

Health Benefits of Coffee - WebMD.
Coffee as a Health Drink? Studies Find Some Benefits - New York Times, 2006.
Coffee vs. Tea - Infographic of Health Benefits and Risks http://goo.gl/StIsr
Caffeine is a major source of antioxidant activity in coffee. WebMD, 2011.

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