Coffee is practically a health food: Myth or fact?


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Coffee is practically a health food:Myth or fact?

If you chose fact, you’re right. New studies this week add to dozens more reporting the health benefits of coffee, including protection from type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, computer back pain and more.

But if you chose myth, you’d also be right. There are times when coffee is bad for you, and it depends on your genetics, your age and even how you make your coffee.

Coffee lovers rejoice! There are more studies than ever encouraging you to sip for your good health.

A huge studyof more than 25,000 coffee drinkers in South Korea shows that moderate daily consumption — that’s three to five cups a day — is associated with a decreased risk for coronary artery calcium (CAC). CAC is a great predictor of future heart disease and hasn’t been studied much in the past.

Four cups of coffee a day was also recently found to moderately reduceone’s risk for melanoma, a highly dangerous skin cancer. Decaffeinated coffee didn’t provide any protection.

Another recent study looked at coffee consumption and multiple sclerosis. It found high coffee intake — that’s four to six cups a day — reduced the risk of getting MS. So did drinking a lot of coffee over five to 10 years.

Investigators now believe coffee could be neuroprotective. And it may be more than the caffeine in coffee that’s responsible. Researchers are starting to look at other compounds in coffee that may help as well.

Before you run off to your favorite coffee spot for a double mocha latte, note one thing about these studies.

Most research defines a “cup” of coffee at 5 to 8 ounces, about a 100 mg of caffeine, and black or maybe with a bit of cream or sugar. It is not one of those 24-ounce monsters topped with caramel and whipped cream.

Coffee has been studied a lot, and not just recently.

The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which began in 1986, and the Nurses’ Health Study  which started in 1976, have been following coffee consumption habits of healthy men and women for decades.

“We did not find any relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease. Even people who drank up to six cups of coffee per day were at no higher risk of death,” writes Dr. Rob van Dam of Harvard’s School of Health.

So why was coffee given such bad reputation for so long?

Earlier studies didn’t always factor out serious health behaviors that used to go along with coffee, such as smoking and a lack of physical activity. Today’s coffee drinker doesn’t necessarily fit that mold and researchers are more likely to screen for those behaviors in their results.

While the health benefits of coffee keep rolling in, the complete story isn’t so rosy. In some studies, very high consumption — six or more cups a day — reduced the benefits.

Some populations can find coffee consumption potentially harmful. People with sleep issues or uncontrolled diabetes may need to ask their doctors before adding caffeine to their diets. There’s also a concern about caffeine use among youths.

And there’s a genetic mutation many of us have that can affect how fast our bodies metabolize caffeine. The gene is called CYP1A2 — if you have the slow version, it would explain why you crawl the walls after only a cup or two or why it might contribute to your high blood pressure.

Women should take particular note. Coffee may increase menopausal hot flashes. And pregnant women might be more likely to miscarry as caffeine does reach the fetus and might restrict growth. Doctors recommend only a cup a day during pregnancy.

And interestingly enough, the way you make your coffee could also make a health difference — there’s a compound called cafestol in the oily part of coffee that can increase your bad cholesterol or LDL. It’s caught in the paper filters, so as long as you use those to make your morning joe, you should be fine. But if you’re a lover of French press, Turkish coffee or the boiled coffee popular in Scandinavian countries, you could be putting your health at risk.

For many of us, coffee is a blessing. And as long as you avoid its pitfalls, current science seems to be saying you can continue to enjoy it, guilt free.

Here are some of the key points again but now you have to fill in the missing words.

According to the text, the health …………… (1) of coffee include …………… (2) from some diseases and a …………… (3) risk for others. Coffee, however, can be bad for you and it …………… (4) on your genetics, your age and the way you …………… (5) coffee. It can be …………… (6) you if you have sleep …………… (7). Women are also advised to limit their coffee consumption to one cup per day during …………… (8). Earlier studies concluded that coffee was bad because the typical behavior of coffee drinkers also included ……………  (9) and …………… (10) of physical activity.


1. benefits

2. protection

3. decreased / reduced

4. depends

5. make / prepare

6. harmful

7 issues / problems

8. pregnancy

9. smoking

10. lack

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health food

egészséges élelmiszer


mítosz, legenda

health benefit

egészségre gyakorolt pozitív hatás



type 2 diabetes

2-es típusú cukorbetegség

liver disease


prostate cancer


back pain



genetikai felépítés

to sip




daily consumption

napi fogyasztás


csökkent, csökkentett


rizikó, veszély

coronary artery




to reduce one's risk

lecsökkenteni az ember kockázatát valamire

skin cancer





védelmezi az idegeket




uncia, 0,03 liter

whipped cream




increased risk

megnövekedett rizikó

cardiovascular disease

szív- és érrendszeri betegség

to have bad reputation

rossz híre van

to fit that mold

beleilleni abba a sablonba

to screen


to roll in

beözönleni, nagy számban megjelenni

potentially harmful

potenciálisan káros hatású

sleep issues

alvási problémák

genetic mutation

genetikai mutáció

to metabolize

lebontani, átalakítani

to crawl the walls

falra mászni

high blood pressure

magas vérnyomás

menopausal hot flashes

klimaxos hőhullámok

to miscarry




to restrict


bad cholesterol

rossz koleszterin

morning joe

reggeli kávé





guilt free

bűntudat nélkül

Kapcsolódó anyagok

Napi leckék
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