More on the coffee debate

February 1, 2008

My piece on coffee has sparked some debate, and this week I saw an interesting post this week from Ray Collins who writes The Good Life Letter and happily for those of us who cannot start the day without a cup of coffee it’s not all doom and gloom. I did tell you about the risks pregnant women run of miscarriage through coffee drinking, but if you are not pregnant then read on.

It’s the caffeine content which is at the root of the argument and like most things it has its good and bad sides. On the pro side there is evidence that it may lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and headaches. Caffeine also has a stimulating effect on the brain and studies have shown that it can also improve your attention span, boost your brainpower and also help balance your moods.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that the optimal dose of coffee a day is no more than 200 milligrams, or two average size cups of coffee, in a day. For me, I have a small cafetiere of organic ground coffee to start my day then I switch to white or herbal tea and that seems to work for me.

Oh, and if you are up for a major purchase, then don’t take the offer of free coffee that the salesman may make. Apparently, according to Pearl Martin of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, she claims that doses of caffeine can make you more easily convinced by arguments that go against your beliefs. This comes from a paper she authored in 2005 which suggested that the brain stimulators in caffeine improves your ability to understand the reasoning behind strong arguments.

In practice, that could make you more likely to end up agreeing with something that goes against your typical views. So if you are against gas-guzzling cars and you have a couple of free java’s then beware, because it might help the salesman change your mind!


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