Every so often there's breaking news about the health benefits of coffee. Recently, millions of men breathed sighs of relief over their morning papers.
A study on 50,000 men demonstrated that six cups of coffee a day (basically a pot) reduces the risk of prostate cancer. I was not so bowled over. As giddy as this study may make you feel, consider that vast majority of studies are flawed by biased funding, egos and the disparity of research subjects' eating and lifestyle habits. Another bias in this instance is likely that caffeine is such a powerful addiction that we even have researchers plaintively touting its benefits -- and the media gobbling it up (or guzzling as the case may be).
The truth is that caffeine is a legal psychotropic drug that over-stimulates the adrenal glands and central nervous system, leading to increased risk of heart attacks, irritability, insomnia, and a rapid and irregular heart rate. It elevates blood pressure (hypertension). It promotes inflammation, causing a cascade of free radicals that oxidize your LDLs, which contribute to plaguing of your arteries. Caffeine elevates blood sugar, results in heartburn and other GI problems, like sour stomach, that cause bad breath. Let's not forget stained teeth. In women, caffeine may contribute to a higher risk of fibrocystic breast disease and can increase the risk of birth defects if used during pregnancy. Coffee contains tars, phenols and other carcinogens, as well as traces of pesticides and toxic chemicals used in the growing and extraction processes. Most decaf blends are stripped of caffeine with methylene chloride -- otherwise known as dry cleaning fluid.
Getting back to drinking copious amounts of coffee. Drinking coffee causes diuresis (excessive urination). This is a plus-minus situation. It's a well known fact that, for men, not urinating frequently enough is a risk factor for prostate cancer. Could this have been the one factor that resulted in a decrease in prostate cancer in the study subjects? But isn't it's really kind of crazy to propose running to the bathroom after every cup of coffee to reduce your risk of prostate cancer considering the other scary risks associated with coffee?
Frequent urination -- if fluids are not replaced -- can lead to dehydration. There are other risks associated with dehydration. Dehydration causes vessels to constrict, which is a major cause of erectile dysfunction. If that's not enough to put you off coffee, dehydration also causes sluggish blood, which clogs microscopic vessels, which can contribute to heart attack and stroke.
Did the researchers compile data about heart attacks and strokes and coffee drinkers, or did they just zero in on prostate cancer? See what I mean about the inherent flaws of the study? When it comes to studies I always weigh the results against what I see with my eyes. And what I see are coffee-drinking people who are aging in an accelerated way. They are overweight, obese or prison-camp thin, with chronic illnesses, disease and all the outward signs of aging, like wrinkles, sags, bags, and in women, cellulite.
What about staying hydrated with water, even though you may have to run to the toilet every so often? Staying hydrated is one key factor in reducing accelerated aging. Rather that dehydrating yourself with caffeine, drink one half of your body weight in ounces of purified water every day to flush toxins out of your system and keep hydrated. You'll look and feel much better. And what you see on the outside is a direct indication of what's happening on the inside.
Follow Nancy Deville on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nancydeville