Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Uppers and Downers With Health Benefits

When it comes to my morning cup of coffee and my evening glass of wine, I am a glass/mug "half-full" kinda girl.

Over the years, I have heard negative connotations associated with drinking coffee or wine because of the health problems that may arise if these beverages are consumed in excess.

However, there are many health benefits associated with drinking coffee and wine in moderation.  First, let's take a look at some of the amazing benefits of that morning pick-me-up called coffee.

                        Coffee Can Make You Happier
It is well known that caffeine indirectly increases the transmission of dopamine, the neurochemical that makes us happy.  Caffeine improves our mood, relieves depression, and makes us more relaxed, alert, and energetic.  According to a 2013 study supported by the National Institute of Health, individuals who consumed 4 cups of coffee per day were 10% less likely to develop depression compared to individuals who did not drink coffee.  Another study published by The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, states men and women who drank 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee decreased their risk of suicide by 50% compared to those who did not touch the java.  The daily brew increases happiness, feelings of pleasure and makes you feel good.
Full study can be found  here.

          Coffee Is Loaded With Antioxidants

Your cup o' Joe, whether it be regular or decaf contains polyphenols, which are a source of potent antioxidant activity.  In fact, researchers are now finding that coffee out-ranks the amount of antioxidants that are found in fruits and vegetables!  Just remember, more is not necessarily better when it comes to the ingestion of caffeinated coffee.  Coffee is a fantastic source of antioxidants which help beat harmful effects of cell-damaging free radicals.  Excess consumption of caffeine can have harmful effects, however.  Therefore, experts suggest limiting caffeine to 300 mg per day.

                  Coffee Helps With Weight Control

According to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming 6 cups of coffee causes an increase in energy expenditure.  Coffee consumption may help individuals lose weight by increasing lipid metabolism, reducing body fat and increasing fat oxidation.  Caffeine may also assist with weight loss because it stimulates an increased rate of physical activity.  In fact, there is evidence that caffeine increases endurance and speed during exercise which in turn improves exercise performance for enhanced weight loss.  Full study can be found via the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

There are health benefits associated with the morning pick-me-up and there are health benefits associated with the de-stressing agent called wine .

The history of wine spans thousands of years and we can continue to enjoy the adult beverage today.

One serving of wine is 5 ounces.  If you are a healthy male or female, fill an average size wine glass with 5 ounces of wine, and stick to moderate consumption, (up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men) then you can enjoy a variety of health benefits from vino. 

Wine Protects The Heart

 Studies have shown that adults who drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol may be less likely to develop heart disease compared to non-drinkers or drinkers who abuse alcohol.  Moderate consumption of wine can reduce blood clotting, keep blood vessels flexible, and lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol.  It is not recommended to start drinking or to consume alcohol more regularly, however as there are much more effective ways to prevent heart disease such as diet and exercise.  But, if you are like me and enjoy kicking back with a glass of wine as a fabulous way to de-stress, then cheers to you!

                                          Wine Promotes Longevity

According to a study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, individuals who completely abstain from alcohol have a higher mortality rate than moderate drinkers who consume one to three drinks per day.  Over a 20-year period, 1,824 individuals were studied and 69% of abstainers died during the study period compared to 60% of heavy drinkers and 41% of moderate drinkers.  In addition, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) also found that moderate drinkers (at the level of one to two drinks per day) have the greatest longevity.  Dr. Lorraine Gunzerath of NIAAA states there is a 1% increase in breast cancer associated with moderate drinking, but a 40% decrease in heart disease risk. 

                                         Wine Prevents Depression

According to a 2013 study published in BMC Medicine, moderate consumption of wine (two to seven glasses per week) may reduce the incidence of depression, while heavy consumption of wine leads to a higher risk for depression.  The study followed 5,505 men and women age 55-80 years old for up to seven years.  Participants did not have a history of depression or alcohol-related problems.  Results of the study concluded that individuals who consumed wine in moderation had a significantly lower risk for depression.  Click here to view the full research article.

                                          Final Word

It's important to remember that research has found health benefits to consuming alcohol in small amounts on a daily basis as opposed to binging a week's worth of alcohol over the weekend.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "low-risk drinking is no more than 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week for women.  For men, it is defined as no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week."

So, now that you have scientific evidence suggesting there are health benefits to consuming the cup of java and vino by the glass, I have one final word...ENJOY!

"Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can change and wine to accept the things I can't."  -Unknown



Anonymous said...

Thank you for this! I get tired of having such pleasantries in life vilified. Now if only you could tell me my diet dr. pepper was okay...

Denise the Dietitian said...

You're welcome :)