bidding adieu to java

by Bella Rum

Thank you to everyone for your comments about our 41st anniversary. H and I truly appreciate your good wishes and the sushi was delicious – just as I thought it would be.

Caffeine is my latest sacrifice to the God’s of fair to middling health. I stopped drinking sodas a few years ago. It was shocking how easy that was. Now that coffee is a thing of the past, water is my beverage of choice. I had an intermittent headache for four days and that’s about it. It wasn’t too bad. Now I drink decaf herbal teas or the plain old decaf Lipton tea.

The cardioversion was successful and my heart was returned to its normal rhythm, but the possibility of the heart returning to AFib is significant. Most factors are out of my control, but there are a few things the patient can do after a cardioversion to reduce risk factors: avoid stress, too much exercise, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.

This is what I’ve learned about caffeine in general and coffee in particular.

Caffeine is a mild stimulant and causes an increase in the body’s heartbeat, respiration and metabolism. It also increases production of stomach acid and urine. Of course, I already have heart disease. So the “coffee rules” are a little different for me than the average person. Don’t panic. Most people really can have coffee in moderation.

But…

Studies have produced conflicting information. “One study done by Johns Hopkins Medical Institute concluded that heavy coffee drinkers (five or more cups per day) are more likely to have coronary heart disease than those who didn’t drink coffee.” But Warren G. Thompson, MD, said “The larger and better studies suggest that coffee is not a major risk factor for coronary disease.”

So there you have it. Choose the study you prefer.

However…

There is some evidence that “if” coffee does increase the risk of heart disease, it does it through increasing LDL cholesterol or homocysteine levels, but again there is conflicting data from other studies. However, there’s one thing on which the studies seem to agree. Unfiltered coffee is the bad guy in all this. While some studies find no link between heart disease and filtered coffee, unfiltered coffee is another story.

Unfiltered coffee is made using a French Press, or plunger, and is sometimes called plunger coffee.  Instead of using a filter and running water over the coffee grounds, a French Press actually mixes the coffee and water in a container for brewing, and a mesh plunger is used to separate the coffee grinds from the brew.  Using a French Press makes the coffee much richer, since the water is in direct contact with the coffee grounds, and many of the oils and other substances in coffee, are not strained out by a paper filter.

Studies done on people drinking six or more cups a day of unfiltered coffee has found that LDL cholesterol or homocysteine, if not both, increased significantly.  One such study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition over a two week period showed that the drinkers of unfiltered coffee increased their risk of heart disease by 10%.
Source: LifeScript

Now there’s a definite conclusion and suggestion for you. If you drink coffee, make sure it’s filtered.

And here are the benefits and risks for healthy people and some information about withdrawal.

BENEFITS OF CAFFEINE

Believe it or not, certain amounts of caffeine can have beneficial effects. Historically, small amounts of caffeine have been used to help control weight, alleviate pain, open up airways for improved breathing, and overcome chronic fatigue.

Small amounts of caffeine are found to provide the following benefits:

*Can benefit people who are at high-risk for liver disease.

*Increases muscle strength.

*Increases metabolism by breaking down fat, freeing fatty acids and forcing them to be burned. (Caffeine is the most active ingredient in many diet pills.)

*Increases pain relief medication effects.

*Increases mental faculty.

*Reduces asthma symptoms.

RISKS OF CAFFEINE

Two cups of coffee a day is considered an acceptable amount. Caffeine does not become a problem until you start consuming an excessive amount of it. As your body gets used to caffeine, it becomes addicted to it. The symptoms for drinking too much caffeine and the symptoms for caffeine withdrawal are very similar.

EXCESS CAFFEINE – Too much caffeine can cause an array of problems including:

*Restlessness

*Irritability

*Anxiety

*Heartburn

*Headaches (sometimes severe)

*High blood pressure

*Sleeplessness

*Rapid heartbeat

*Nausea

CAFFEINE WITHDRAWAL – Symptoms can begin as soon as 12 hours after your last cup, depending on the amount of caffeine your body is used to. Symptoms can last for up to a week and include:

*Restlessness

*Irritability

*Anxiety

*Headaches (sometimes severe)

Source: Disabled World

It seems like common sense to me. Like everything else in life, drink coffee in moderation – except for French press coffee. Stay away from that. Moderation seems to be the key to healthier living in general. I guess that “balance thing” we’re always hearing about is true.

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