The latest news linking coffee to health comes from a small Japanese study revealing yet another benefit. Researchers in Okinawa found that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee caused a 30 percent increase in blood flow through small blood vessels that lasted for 75 minutes, which may provide a clue as to why coffee helps the heart. This increased flow didn’t occur when study participants drank decaf. The after-coffee change change was measured in the left index finger with a non-invasive laser technique. The 27 study participants ranged in age from 22 to 30. None were regular coffee drinkers. The researchers reported that compared to decaf, the caffeinated coffee slightly raised blood pressure among the participants and improved functioning of blood vessel inner linings. The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions on November 20.
My view is that it is fine to have one cup of coffee per day, before noon, on the Omni Diet provided that the cup contains about five to six ounces (none of those giant-sized jolts of java, please). Coffee’s health benefits may come from a substance called kahweol that is considered a super-food with powerful antioxidant benefits. It is the caffeine that is controversial. If you metabolize caffeine slowly in the liver (this applies to people who are usually sensitive to medications) caffeine can have detrimental effects on the heart and blood pressure. If you metabolize caffeine quickly, you won’t have the same detrimental effect. However, caffeine does constrict blood flow to the brain and can affect sleep patterns if consumed later in the day.