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Does caffeinated coffee have more antioxidants than decaffeinated coffee?
There's a tremendous amount of research showing the benefit of both coffee and tea. One of my favorites shows that coffee consumption may actually reduce the risk of diabetes. The feeling is that these benefits come from the large amount of antioxidants in coffee.
Will caffeine bring on another episode of A-Fib?
I don't see that there's evidence one way or the other about whether caffeine will provoke further episodes of atrial fibrillation in those who have already had issues. The evidence we have about the lack of a link comes from large epidemiologic trials. These have not shown any association between caffeine and heart rhythm problems.
Good News for Women Who Drink Coffee
There’s a good bit of medical lore that says that caffeine will increase your blood pressure. It’s true in the sense that there are short-term clinical studies that show that caffeine intake can raise blood levels of stress hormones associated with hypertension, but these studies have all been only up to a week or so in length.
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The study followed these women, aged 55 to 69, for eleven years via mailed questionnaire and telephone interview. Along with their regular and decaffeinated coffee intake, the women were queried about their height, weight, exercise level, whether they smoked and how much, and were administered detailed food frequency questionnaires in the baseline and four follow-up surveys.
As other studies have shown, the more coffee the women drank, the lower their risk of developing diabetes: those who drank more than six cups per day reduced their risk by 34%! The surprising result, however, was that when the researchers differentiated between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, those women who drank more than 6 cups of decaffeinated coffee per day reduced their risk even further—by 42%.
What's especially interesting about this study is that these women's risks were reduced despite the fact that women who drank more coffee tended to drink more alcohol, smoke more, exercise less, and get more high-fat dairy foods and less fiber in their diet than those who drank less coffee.
Clearly there's something in coffee that's protecting people from diabetes, and it's also clear that it's not the caffeine. Researchers speculate that it's the antioxidants in the coffee. (Indeed, coffee is the single largest source of antioxidants in the Western diet.) So go ahead—drink your coffee.
First posted: July 5, 2006