Category Archives: coffee

Caffeine wakes up your memory!

For generations, coffee drinkers have attested to the idea that their favorite hot beverage helps “keep them sharp.” Tea drinkers have insisted that a hot steamy cup is more than just comforting, it’s a “pick me up,” too. A new study suggesting that caffeine might actually enhance memory could be a reasonable explanation for those claims.

There are many ways people consume caffeine, including in coffee, tea, soda and chocolate, says the study’s lead author Michael Yassa. It doesn’t matter what the source is, the effect of caffeine will likely be the same, he says.
Yassa and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University recruited 160 young, healthy participants, who did not regularly consume caffeinated products. The participants studied a series of images, then five minutes later, took either 200 milligrams of caffeine in tablet form, about the amount of caffeine in a strong cup of coffee, or a placebo.

The next day, participants were asked to identify images they had seen the day before. Some images were new, and some were similar but not exactly the same. For example, if they were shown a picture of a yellow rubber duck originally, the next day, it was a picture of a rubber duck that was shorter and thicker, says Yassa, who was at Johns Hopkins when the study was conducted but now is an assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California-Irvine.

Findings published in the journal Nature Neuroscience: The people who consumed caffeine were more likely to correctly identify the similar items as slightly different from the original picture. The brain’s ability to recognize the difference between two similar but not identical items reflects a deep level of memory discrimination, Yassa says.

Another example of pattern separation is remembering where one’s car is parked today vs. yesterday, he says. “This type of discrimination is involved in every facet of memory,” Yassa says.

The researchers also had participants consume 100 milligrams and 300 milligrams of caffeine and found 100 milligrams was not effective at getting the memory boost, Yassa says. The 300-milligrams dose was no more effective than 200 milligrams, and at the higher amount, people started to report some side effects such as headaches and feeling jittery, he says. “The 200-milligram might be the most optimal dose to get this memory boost.”

One strong cup of coffee might contain 200 milligrams of caffeine, he says. A typical espresso has 80 milligrams, so a double-shot latte will have 160 milligrams, he says.

Other research has found that low doses of caffeine have beneficial effects on attention and focus, Yassa says. A few studies on caffeine’s effect on humans have found little or no effect on long-term memory retention, but numerous studies in animals have shown that caffeine has a beneficial effect, he says.

While this study is encouraging, he cautions that high doses of caffeine can have negative effects, such as anxiety, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and headaches. “I’m not going to stop drinking my coffee, but it’s important to be aware of the costs and benefits,” he says. “Drinking coffee late at night is not going to be helpful for most people.”

Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community is aware of the negative effects of overdoing caffeine. But we also know there are plenty of coffee and tea drinkers out there who will appreciate the findings of this study. It’s another good reason to enjoy their favorite morning brew, especially in these chilly winter months!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/13/caffeine-boosts-memory/4457591/

Your morning coffee or tea might offer more perks than previously thought

Most of us here at FoodFacts.com really enjoy our hot morning cup or tea or coffee. It’s enjoyable, satisfying and does a great job of perking us up – moving us from that sleepy morning state to the wide awake, ready-to-take-on-the-day state. Today we discovered that there may be more to love about our “Morning Joe” than we thought.

An international team of researchers led by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the Duke University School of Medicine suggest that increased caffeine intake may reduce fatty liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Worldwide, 70 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes and obesity have NAFLD, the major cause of fatty liver not due to excessive alcohol consumption. It is estimated that 30 percent of adults in the United States have this condition, and its prevalence is rising in Singapore. There are no effective treatments for NAFLD except diet and exercise.

Using cell culture and mouse models, the study authors — led by Paul Yen, M.D., associate professor and research fellow, and Rohit Sinha, Ph.D of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Program in Singapore — observed that caffeine stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells and decreased the fatty liver of mice that were fed a high-fat diet. These findings suggest that consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may be beneficial in preventing and protecting against the progression of NAFLD in humans.

“This is the first detailed study of the mechanism for caffeine action on lipids in liver and the results are very interesting,” Yen said. “Coffee and tea are so commonly consumed and the notion that they may be therapeutic, especially since they have a reputation for being “bad” for health, is especially enlightening.”

FoodFacts.com finds this research especially fascinating, specifically because of the commonly held idea that caffeine is a “bad” thing. It is fascinating to see research reveal healthful properties of caffeine that were previously unknown. Coffee and tea can be the best part of the morning for many consumers. It’s something that people look forward to, but may have felt somewhat “quietly guilty” about. We’re happy to see findings like this, so that we can begin to replace that “quiet guilt” with the knowledge that we may actually be helping our bodies remain healthy. We look forward to more research into this important topic.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130816153019.htm

That cup o’ Jo may do more than get your morning started – possible link between coffee and a longer life span

FoodFacts.com really enjoys finding information that lets us feel good about indulging in some of our favorite foods and beverages. Coffee is a favorite for many consumers. It helps them get their day going, it’s hot and comforting – and for many, the day just isn’t the same without it. But there have been ongoing concerns about caffeine, even for folks who aren’t sensitive to it, or have other health problems that prevent them from considering products in which it is an ingredient.

Coming out of the National Cancer Institute, a new study of almost 500,000 older adults has shown some surprising results. The study’s participants were followed for about 12 years and it was discovered that as coffee consumption increased, the risk of death decreased.

An article has just been published in Journal of Caffeine Research titled “Epidemiology of Caffeine Consumption and Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-specific Mortality” discussing the research.  It presents an exploration of the many factors that might contribute to the association between coffee, disease and mortality.

The researchers explore the relationship between coffee drinking and behaviors like smoking and alcohol abuse, the effects of caffeine on blood pressure and cardiac function, and the importance of differentiating between the effects of coffee and caffeine. They point out that with the almost universal daily consumption of caffeine, there is a definite need for random controlled trials to help identify the components of coffee, as well as other caffeinated beverages and find out which of those components can demonstrate the benefits seen in this new study, as well as cause potential harm.

This is certainly just a preliminary study, but it does appear possible that there may be specific findings in subsequent studies that can clarify how coffee – and caffeine – can be advantageous and explore relationships between both for specific conditions as we age.

While we understand that caffeine is not something we want to consume in tremendous quantities, because it is a stimulant and can have adverse affects, FoodFacts.com is very curious to see whether or not there is a real relationship between coffee drinking and longevity. Meanwhile, we’re happy to hear that a cup of Morning Jo might be doing us more good than harm. We’ll keep you posted on further studies that provide more detailed information!

Read more here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/256623.php

The latest news on caffeine and skin cancer

Food Facts came across some great information regarding caffeine intake and skin cancer that we wanted to make sure we brought to the attention of our community.

A new study published here in the United States has linked the increase of caffeine a person’s diet with a lower risk of basil cell carcinoma.  Basil cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer.  The study included over 110,000 people and was published in early July in the journal Cancer Research.

Dr. Jiali Han, an associate professor with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and the Harvard School of Public Health went on record saying:   “I would not recommend increasing your coffee intake based on these data alone.”  However, he did add that basal cell carcinoma is just one of a growing list of diseases that appear to be positively affected by increasing coffee/caffeine intake.  That list includes diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Most skin cancers  treated in the U.S. are basal cell skin cancers.  This is the type that begins in the epidermis (the skin’s top layer) and results from regular exposure to ultraviolet radiation.  Basal Cell Carcinoma is a slow-growing cancer which is not life-threatening.   However, it still requires costly treatment.  Any finding that helps prevent the disease can have a positive effect on the public health and our over-burdened health care system.

There were 112,897 people taking part in the health study.  Of those participants a little over 22,700 developed basal cell carcinoma during the 20 years of follow up involved in the study.

It was found that the more caffeine participants consumed, the lower their risk of developing Basal Cell Carcinoma.   They then ranked the study participants according to their caffeine consumption and found that in the case of women, the top 20% of consumers had an 18% lower risk of developing the cancer than the bottom 20%.  The risk was lower for men by 13%

For coffee specifically, it was found that women drinking 3 cups of coffee per day had a 21% lower risk of developing the skin cancer and risk for men was 10% lower.  Caffeine from other food and beverage sources were found to have a similar effect.   The consumption of decaffeinated coffee, however did not correspond to a similar decrease in risk.

It was noted that more study is needed that will include different populations.  It is also important to note that the increase of caffeine consumption showed no effect on developing other forms of skin cancer.

Food Facts thinks that the ability to help prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma through an increase in caffeine is just one of the first steps of many to discovering how food and ingredients both positively and negatively can affect our health.  Stay informed.  It makes a world of difference.

Read more at:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/247423.php

 

Skin Cancer Risk Reduced by Coffee

cuisinart-coffee-maker4
Brought to you by Foodfacts.com: New research is showing that coffee consumption may help to prevent skin cancer by killing potentially cancerous skin cells. Check out the article below to learn more!

A cup of caffeinated coffee a day helps prevent cells from dying off due to UV rays.

WASHINGTON — Coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer by helping kill off damaged cells that could otherwise turn into tumors, according to a US study published on Monday.

The findings indicate that moderate caffeine drinking, or perhaps even applying coffee to the skin, could be useful in warding off non-melanoma cancer, the most commonly diagnosed of all skin cancers.

Using mice that had been genetically altered to suppress a protein enzyme called ATR, researchers showed that the mice were able to fend off cancer even when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Previous studies have suggested that drinking about a cup of caffeinated coffee per day has the effect of suppressing ATR and triggering the die-off of cells harmed by UV rays.

The altered mice eventually did develop cancer, but three weeks later than normal mice, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

After 19 weeks of ultraviolet light exposure, the engineered mice showed 69 percent fewer tumors and four times fewer invasive tumors than the control group.

However, the protective effects only went so far. After 34 weeks of UV exposure, all the mice developed tumors.

“Eventually, if you treat them long enough, the mice will develop cancer so it is not 100 percent protection forever,” Allan Conney, one of the study’s authors, told AFP.

“Really, with almost any carcinogen, eventually all the animals will develop tumors,” added Conney, who is director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Conney and his team were able to confirm their hypothesis that caffeine — when consumed or applied to the skin — works by inhibiting ATR. Now they say more studies are needed to see how it may work on humans.

“We want to see whether caffeine has an effect in people when you give it topically,” he said.

“Caffeine might become a weapon in prevention because it inhibits ATR and also acts as a sunscreen and directly absorbs damaging UV light.”

Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States, with more than one million new cases each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Non-melanoma types of skin cancer, including basal cell and squamous cell types, are the most commonly diagnosed and are often treatable if detected early.

Previous studies have shown coffee drinkers tend to have fewer incidences of breast, uterine, prostate and colon cancers, but the beneficial effects are not seen in people who drink decaffeinated coffee.

(Kerry Sheridan, Mother Nature Network)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Erin Go Bragh! It’s Saint Patrick’s Day and as holidays normally go, there are specialty foods for this day! Of course, there is the drinking, Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Coffee and plenty of famous others.

But what food is more iconic on St Patrick’s Day than Irish Soda Bread? Here’s a great recipe or this recipe is great too!

There is also the famed Corn Beef and Cabbage but watch the video and find out what we substitute for that. And learn more creative cooking ideas in the video!

We think the healthiest way to “Go Green” on Saint Patrick’s Day is to use green vegetables and get creative. Shamrock shaped cucumber slices anyone?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!!

Happy Birthday Starbucks!

Since Starbucks is on our good side right now, thanks to their healthy perfect Oatmeal, we thought we would give them a birthday shout out.
Birthday Pop

So “Happy 40th Birthday Starbucks! Love, Food Facts P.S. We love your Perfect Oatmeal! ”

What’s in it for you?? Well, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 2pm-5pm Starbucks will be giving you a free little dessert when you buy a drink! These little desserts, they are calling Starbucks Petites include cake pops, sweet squares and whoopie pies! Why are we giving these yummy but unhealthy treats the ok? Well, each treat is under 200 calories and is little! So just remember one is enough! Rocky Road Pop

If you are on a diet, small little desserts are a great way not to starve yourself of your favorite foods but keep portion size in check. Give yourself a little treat so you won’t over do it on something else!

Which flavor will you all get? We have our eye on the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie!
Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

Good Nutrition In The Fruit Of The Coffee Plant?

Coffee Plant | Foodfacts.com

Coffee Plant | Foodfacts.com

Foodfacts.com has learned that it is little known that the coffee plant contains a bright red fruit that is usually disposed of because coffee growers think it is of no use. This fruit houses the coffee bean, which is technically the plant’s seed. The coffee bean is no longer the only usable part of the coffee plant, because researchers are discovering the good nutrition that the fruit of the coffee plant offers. Continue reading

Interesting Facts About Coffee

Interesting Facts About Coffee | Foodfacts.com

Interesting Facts About Coffee | Foodfacts.com

It’s no surprise to the Food Facts Blog that the world’s most popular beverage – coffee – has an interesting and intriguing history. There is a treasure trove of information about this amazing drink that helps to explain why it is so popular. Some of these facts may ring a bell; some of them may be things you have never heard of before. All of them, though, are sure to provide some interesting tidbits and nuggets of information about coffee and how it came to be the world’s favorite drink. Continue reading