Moderate coffee consumption may have some promising health benefits. The natural compounds found in coffee can lead some arthritis sufferers to incorporate this drink into the growing arsenal of anti-inflammatory foods capable of relieving joint stiffness and inflammation.
Clinical researchers have found that coffee has a potential benefit in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, in gallstones, in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and in certain types of cancer.
The Arthritis Foundation
Coffee as medicine
According to the Arthritis Foundation, clinical researchers have found that coffee has a potential benefit in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, in gallstones, in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and in certain types of cancer. The truth behind its biological effects can come not only from the caffeine content, but also from the antioxidants contained in this beverage.
Antioxidants are substances that protect the body's cells from the damage caused by free radicals. In fact, coffee contains hundreds of chemicals, either naturally occurring in the grains or formed through the roasting process, which can have effects on immunity and inflammation.
A large category of natural compounds found in coffee are phenolic acids, which are the main polyphenols produced by plants, and help the plant to defend itself, and in turn, can benefit our health when we eat them There are many types of phenolic acids, and they have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilating properties. Fruits, vegetables and beverages (including coffee) are the main sources of this type of compounds in the human diet.
A 2010 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that coffee can have an impact on cholesterol and inflammation. The 47 study participants, all regular coffee drinkers, did not drink any coffee during the first month of the study, and then went on to consume up to four cups a day for the next month. During the last month of the study, participants consumed up to eight cups (150 ml each) of filtered coffee per day. The results showed a 7% increase in "good" HDL cholesterol levels, an 8% decrease in LDL cholesterol, in proportion to HDL, and a significant drop in the biomarkers of inflammation.
This is good news for those looking to use coffee to reduce their risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also deserves further research on how these anti-inflammatory effects can help mitigate the symptoms of arthritis.
A more recent study, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, measured the effects of caffeine and low-intensity exercise on muscles and the skeletal system. In the study, 32 rats were fed caffeine and exposed to low-intensity exercise of up to 40 minutes per day, five times a week, for a month. The results showed that a combination of daily caffeine intake with regular exercise resulted in a significant decrease in muscle damage and inflammation.
Interpretation of results
While this type of research may be encouraging for those who suffer from arthritis, and who are also coffee lovers, there is no clinical evidence to support the claim that caffeine or consumption Coffee can reduce inflammation related specifically to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. However, the Arthritis Foundation reports that drinking four or more cups of coffee per day significantly reduces the risk of gout in men.
Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when there is too much uric acid - a chemical byproduct created when the body breaks down proteins and foods rich in purines. Both studies cited by the Arthritis Foundation found a dramatic decrease in the occurrence of gout in men who drank about six cups a day, as well as a significant decrease in uric acid levels in the blood of men and women.
In addition, intensive caffeine consumption can also lead to restlessness, irritability and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic. Therefore, while researchers continue to study the possible benefits of your morning cup of coffee for your health, remember: drink in moderation.
About the author
Eilender is a university professor and writer of health sciences, located in New Jersey.