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Gout? Drink Coffee!
High levels of uric acid in the blood are related to incidence of gout, which is the most common form of arthritis among adult males. Since coffee is one of the most commonly-consumed beverages in the world, does it have an effect on the incidence of gout?

Is drinking coffee bad for you?
Back when David Letterman had his heart trouble a few years ago, he talked about how his doctors had told him that he couldn't drink coffee anymore. At the time all I could think was, "Find a new doctor." There has never been good evidence for telling patients not to drink coffee. In fact, there's a ton of research showing that coffee is good for you.

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.



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Drinking Coffee Reduces Your Risk

Yet another study has come out that supports drinking regular coffee. In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2006;83(5):1039-46), Dr. Lene Frost Andersen and colleagues studied the relationship between coffee drinking and diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer (other than skin cancer), Parkinson's disease, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, and diabetes. These diseases have a strong inflammatory component, and coffee is known to be a major source of antioxidants in the diet.

Participants in this study were 27,312 postmenopausal women between 55 and 69, without cardiovascular disease or other inflammatory diseases, who were followed for 15 years.

What they found is consistent with previous studies: the more coffee a participant drank, the lower the total death rates for all studied causes. This remained true even after controlling for age, smoking, and alcohol intake, even though women who drank more coffee tended to smoke and drink more.

Interestingly, they found that total mortality and death from cardiovascular disease increased the more sugar-sweetened beverages a participant drank per day. Indeed, drinking more than 2.5 sugar-sweetened drinks per day showed a significantly higher death rate from cardiovascular disease. No relation, however, was seen with diet drinks.

What this means for you

Antioxidants like those found in coffee clearly protect you from illness and death in combination with exercise and a healthy diet. Put down the sugared sodas and drink coffee instead.

First posted: May 12, 2006