Tamara's Coffee Table

Coffee is often talked over...

He said, "It's her birthday coming up ... and I don't know what to get her. When I ask she says just get her something. What does that mean? What kinda stuff does she want?"
She said, "You're not listening. She doesn't want stuff, she wants things. Stuff we throw away. Things we bequeath to the future. And junk ... that's the stuff we mistake for things."
He said, "She wants things," and continued to sip his coffee.

... and about ...

Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.
-- Turkish Proverb

The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

... and studied for its magical powers.

No Need to Drink Plain Water Daily (April, 2003 Journal of the American College of Nutrition and August 2003 American Journal of Physiology) -- Many recommendations are to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily in addition to the fluids included in our food and other drinks, also known as 8x8. Two seperate research studies indicate that the type of beverage has no impact on hydration status.

Dr. Ann Grandjean, Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and lead author of the study in the Journal of American College Nutrition pointed out, "People do not need to worry if they do not have access to plain water each day. It is not our intent to imply you don't need water but most beverages will support hydration." Her findings indicate that fluids in our diets come from solid foods as well as liquids and that coffee, soft drinks and other caffeinated beverages are part of that hydration process.

It has become accepted wisdom: "Drink at least eight glasses of water a day!" Not necessarily, says a DMS physician and professor emeritus of physiology at Dartmouth Medical School Heinz Valtin, MD. The universal advice that has made guzzling water a national pastime is more urban myth than medical dogma and appears to lack scientific proof, he found. In an invited review published by the American Journal of Physiology, Valtin reports no supporting evidence to back this popular counsel.

Valtin, a kidney specialist and author of two widely used textbooks on the kidney and water balance, sought to find the origin of this dictum and to examine the scientific evidence, if any, that might support it. Indeed, he finds it, "difficult to believe that evolution left us with a chronic water deficit that needs to be compensated by forcing a high fluid intake."

He found no scientific studies in support of 8 x 8. Rather, surveys of fluid intake on healthy adults of both genders strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed. His conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks, such as most coffee, tea and soft drinks, may indeed be counted toward the daily total.

At the same time, he stresses that large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 x 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases, such as kidney stones, as well as under special circumstances, such as strenuous physical activity, long airplane flights or hot weather.

Even NASA is Confounded by Coffee -- December 2002 -- Here's something to ponder over your next cup of joe: the physics of a humble bag of coffee grounds still holds surprises for scientists. Earthquakes, avalanches, planetary rings, coal mines ... even bags of coffee. From the alien to the ordinary, we'll understand them all a little better when NASA completes this research. Curious? Click here to learn more about the research and the simple physics of a bag of coffee.

Coffee Lowers Risk of Gallstone Disease in Women ­ December 2002 ­ Women who consistently drink four cups of caffienated coffee a day have significantly lower risk of gallstone disease than those who do not drink coffee, researchers report in the American Gastroenterological Association's journal Gastroenterology.

Almost half of all Americans drink coffee, amounting to a per capita intake of 1.7 cups a day. In the study, protection from gallstone disease increased with increasing coffee consumption, up to four cups per day. Those who drank five or more cups of coffee further decreased their risk of gallstone disease beyond that of women who drank four cups daily.

"It appears that caffeine may be the protective ingredient in coffee that is responsible for the decreased risk of gallstone disease among coffee drinkers," notes Dr. Leitzmann. "There is experimental evidence from other studies showing that caffeine leads to gallbladder contractions, which could theoretically help prevent the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder."

Caffeine-Signaling Activity in Brain Function ­ August 2002 -- Every morning millions of Americans reach for the world's most popular drug to help them start their day.

"Caffeine is the most frequently self-administered drug in recreational use worldwide today," said Dr. James Bibb, assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "And yet we know little about how caffeine works in the brain, whether with the kick from a double espresso or small jolts from tea or cola. We do know it is rewarding, can enhance cognition and performance, and induce dependence at the same time."

Bibb said most people would never consider that the effects of their morning coffee would have any similarities to those of cocaine, long known to be a powerful and dangerous recreational drug. But research is showing that the two stimulants similarly alter a specific signaling activity within the brain.

Bibb explained that it has been known for some time that caffeine owes much of its stimulant action to its ability to block receptors, such as those for adenosine, in the brain. Adenosine, one of the four building blocks of DNA and an important signaling molecule in the brain, forms the backbone of the energy-storage molecule ATP. ATP helps maintain equilibrium, or balance, between its energy use and electrical activity throughout the cells, sending signals along specific brain pathways.

"We find that in the brain many processes are related, and it is well-known that caffeine can induce insomnia and that adenosine can induce sleep. By studying sleep we may also learn more about drug addiction and other disorders," Bibb said.

The caffeine research was conducted by scientists at Rockefeller University in New York City; the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden; and the "Mario Negri" Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy. The study was funded by the Swedish Research Council, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Drinking Coffee Appears To Be A Memory Boost ­ January 2002 -- Drinking a cup of coffee is not only a nice break for many, it also appears to be a memory boost as well, especially for older adults.

Researchers in the psychology department at the University of Arizona tested a group of over-65 adults to see if their memory function could be enhanced by caffeine. The results were published in the January 2002 issue of Psychological Science by the American Psychological Society.

Lee Ryan, UA assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study, tested the effects of caffeine on the memory of older adults. The 40 participants, all over age 65, and active and independent, were tested in the morning and in the afternoon on scheduled days. The test used was the California Verbal Learning Test. Subjects were given coffee during both the morning and afternoon test segments. One group received 12-ounce cups of regular coffee while the control group drank decaffeinated coffee.

Ryanıs research found that participants who ingested decaffeinated coffee ³showed a significant decline in memory performance from morning to afternoon.² The group who ingested the caffeine showed no decline in performance on the memory tests.

According to New Scientist (June10, 2000) caffeine can be a real lifesaver. A strong cup of coffee may help relieve hay fever, and might even stop potentially fatal reactions triggered by nuts and insect stings. Researchers in South Korea have found in studies that caffeine can block acute allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs researchers and colleagues have discovered a possible link between increased coffee intake and a lower risk of Parkinson's disease (JAMA, May 24/31, 2000).

Caffeine and Pregnancy ... Washington, DC--November 23, 1999--Questions about the safety of caffeine consumption for pregnant women occur from time-to-time. To address this issue, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that caffeine does not adversely affect reproduction in humans. The agency currently advises pregnant women who consume caffeine to do so in moderation.

Numerous studies support the conclusion that moderate consumption of caffeine does not predispose expectant mothers to spontaneous abortion or preterm delivery, nor the fetus to low birth weight.

Laurie R. Green, MD, of the Obstetrics and Gynecology, San Francisco, California; Herbert Muncie, Jr., MD, University of Maryland, Department of Family Medicine; James Mills, MD, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Pediatric Epidemiology (NIH); and Alan Leviton, MD; Harvard Medical School, all agree that caffeine in moderation does not adversely affect pregnancy.

A couple of Irish coffees for stroke victims in the emergency room? Beyond the joke lies the real possibility that a combination of alcohol and caffeine could prove more beneficial to stroke victims than acute care stroke drugs, according to a report from the American Neurological Association (Oct. 1999). Researchers from the University of Texas, Houston, reported data from animal studies suggesting that alcohol and caffeine administered in combination just before or after a stroke can significantly reduce the resulting brain damage.

October 21, 1999, Washington, DC -- Caffeine is one of the most discussed and comprehensively studied ingredients in the food supply. But, some questions and misperceptions about the potential health effects associated with this ingredient still often persist.

A session held at The American Dietetic Association (ADA) annual meeting in Atlanta sponsored by the International Food Information Council recognized the confusion about caffeine and put the subject of caffeine and health into context for dietitians, nutrition communicators and the public in general. Three experts provided comprehensive information on caffeine in the diet and examined current clinical and epidemiological research conducted on caffeine and bone health, caffeine and addiction and caffeine and specific female reproductive issues.

"Increased attention to caffeine naturally follows recent societal trends such as the increased popularity of gourmet coffees and a growing interest in teas," said moderator and ADA spokesperson, Edith Howard Hogan, RD, LD, in her overview of the environment today. "The public is confused and dietitians and other health professionals can help answer their questions about caffeine."

Illustrating her point, Hogan shared the results of an informal survey she conducted with ADA National Media spokespeople and ADA Resource Spokespeople to learn what sort of questions they are asked by the news media. One of the key questions these spokespeople hear is, "Are there negative effects from consuming caffeine?" This and other questions were answered by the session's presenters.

Tom Lloyd, PhD, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology in the Department of Health Evaluation Sciences at Penn State University, shared findings from clinical research on caffeine and bone health in post-menopausal women and more recent studies on caffeine and bone health in teenage girls. "The bottom line is that there appears to be no link between moderate caffeine consumption and bone density in women who consume some calcium in their diet," said Lloyd.

"If you enjoy caffeine containing products in moderation, there isn't a need to discontinue them because of a long-term health consequences," said panelist, Herbert Muncie, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Maryland. Dr. Muncie reviewed current research on caffeine as it relates to reproductive health and children's health. "There is no evidence that caffeine harms children or leads to hyperactivity," he said. "The real issue is nutrition, making sure that children are getting sufficient nutritious foods in their diets."

News from the American Chemical Society: ANAHEIM, Calif., March 22, 1999 -- Most coffee drinkers feel they function better after that morning cup of java, and many researchers agree. But is it addictive? A French medical researcher will present new data that says it isn't addictive for most people, at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

At doses of one to three cups of coffee a day, a fairly typical consumption for Americans, caffeine has no affect on the area of the brain involved with addiction, dependence and reward, claims Astrid Nehlig, Ph.D., research director at the Strasbourg, France, laboratory of INSERM, the French National Health and Medical Research Institute. Nehlig recently completed a study with laboratory animals, which confirmed that caffeine consumed in moderation contributes to increased alertness and energy but does not bring about dependence at those levels. Caffeine appears to act differently from amphetamines, cocaine, morphine or nicotine, Nehlig says. Even at low doses, these drugs trigger functional activity in the shell of the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain responsible for addiction, she says. It would take the equivalent of about seven or more cups of caffeinated coffee consumed in rapid succession to begin to activate this portion of the brain. Even then, she adds, "activation of the circuitry of addiction and reward occurs only at high doses of caffeine, which probably induce already adverse effects." These effects can include anxiety, nervousness and depression, Nehlig says.

Acknowledging that there is a "big debate" among researchers about whether caffeine is addictive, Nehlig noted "one epidemiological study reported dependence over a wide dose range," from as little as one or two cups per day to as much as 25 cups.

Women who drink two or more cups of coffee per day are substantially less likely to commit suicide than women who do not drink coffee, according to a study reported in the March 11 edition of AMA's Archives of Internal Medicine. Of the many chemicals found in coffee, the main ingredient with central nervous system effects is caffeine, according to information cited in the study. Habitual coffee drinkers reported pleasant effects of decreased irritability and improvement in mood following coffee consumption, whereas nondrinkers are more likely to report dysphoria even after a single dose. Several studies have found that people who ingest 100 to 1,000 milligrams of caffeine per day report improved mood, better social disposition, more self-confidence, increased energy, and more motivation for work.(AMA March 1996)

The aroma of brewed coffee could have some of the same beneficial health effects as eating fruits and vegetables, reported Dr. Takayuki Shibamoto of the University of California, Davis, at the American Chemical Society national meeting on April 14, 1997. Scientists have long known that coffee beans contain protective chemicals called antioxidants, believed to be helpful against cancer, heart disease and aging. An entirely different set of antioxidants found in the aroma of both regular and decaffeinated brewed coffee could give a different kind of kick. A rough calculation shows that the antioxidant level in the aroma of one cup of coffee is equivalent to three oranges, based on the results of a test conducted by Shibamoto. (American Chemical Society April 1997)

Drinking a cup or two of coffee doesn't hurt your heart, according to a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (February 1996). In a 10-year study of more than 85,000 women, no link was found between coffee consumption and the risk of heart disease. This was true even among women who drank six or more cups of coffee per day, according to the research team from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. (AMA February 1996)

Coffee is still the best source of caffeine (Self Magazine, May 1998). One 8 ounce cup of brewed coffee contains 135 mg of caffeine. Twelve ounce servings of sodas (Coca-Cola, Jolt, Josta, Mountain Dew, and Surge) range in caffeine content from 52.5 mg (Surge) to 72 mg (Jolt). Caffeinated water products contain between 60 mg and 100 mg per 16.9 ounce to 20 ounce serving.

Some of my favorite places to purchase or learn about coffee ...

Lion Coffee
Gevalia Kaffe
Cafe de Colombia

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