Healing Benefits of Water, Coffee

10 May 2013

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Drinking  water

Steve Dada writes that drinking water regenerates children’s health just as drinking coffee regularly performs the same function for adults

Not all experts agree on what, precisely, is the amount of water one needs to drink everyday to maintain a healthy level of hydration. But in general, the recommendation is that it’s considered safe and prudent to drink water regularly.

Indeed, most people don’t know the health benefits of water as it’s often considered as a complement to food intake and also something to quench thirst due to fatigue.

According to experts water is the foremost beverage from which all other beverages emerge. It is a major ingredient for the production of all known beverages consumed by man.

The difference between water and other beverages is that, water is a natural beverage while all other beverages notable among them, coffee are man-made.

A consultant physician, Dr. Oyediran Oyewole of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan at  a recent healthy Hydration Teachers’ Workshop, organised by the multinational food industry, Nestle Nigeria Plc, in Lagos, enumerated importance of water to human health and wellness.

According to him, during childhood, which is a period of development and learning, a good hydration is important for the whole body.

Water, he noted, was needed for the irrigation of the child’s entire body as the developing brain of the child needs water to function properly, making it essential that the child adopts healthy habits early on by drinking water regularly during the day.

“Water makes up around 60 per cent of the body. Water is lost when you sweat, urinate or breathe, but to maintain the balance of water, it is important to drink enough water to replace the water you lose,” he stated.

Oyewole said good hydration will get the nutrients to the cells of the body, while the lungs must be lubricated by getting the oxygen to it with enough content of water, which also enables food to digest, while on the other hand, dehydration of the body can cause colon cancer.

He stressed that lack of water could cause constipation when the waste products capable of causing colon cancer settle in the lumen for failing to go the toilet.

While water plays important role in the health of man during childhood, Dr. Kemi Odukoya of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), however, said coffee plays the same role as water for man at adulthood, but noted that the health benefits of coffee are not known to many people and even the health care workers. She stressed that knowing coffee and its composition would help to understand its effects on human health.

According to her, coffee contains caffeine, antioxidants (phenols), fibre, diterpenes (cafestol, kahweol), micronutrients and added that apart from coffee, there are other substances that contain caffeine, such as chocolates, energy drinks, kola-nuts, mushrooms, cocoa, tea and carbonated soft drinks.

Odukoya explained that coffee is rich in antioxidants which are the molecules often found in food substances which helps to protect the body from its normal wear and tear. She argued that beneficial health effects of coffee could be due to possible protection against oxidation, stressing that normal modern life exposes man to many sources of oxidation.

According to her, an excess of oxidative stress may induce a deregulation of the metabolism in human capable of causing cardiovascular disease, aging, cancer, inflammation, infertility, diabetes, macular degeneration and osteoporosis, to mention a few.
Antioxidants which coffee contains may protect body cells and tissues by turning harmful free radicals into neutral species by stimulating the production of body natural antioxidants defences, adding that for a moderate coffee consumer, the beverage is the highest source of antioxidants from the diet and debunked the claim that coffee causes addiction.

“Addiction implies a compulsive and repeated use of a substance that poses a threat to physical, social and economic health through caffeine,” and added that the mechanisms of action of caffeine are very different from that of drug abuse and they do not affect the brain circuit and structure for reward, motivation or addiction.

She cited the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which claims no evidence for caffeine withdrawal and the World Health Organization (WHO) that stated that there is no evidence whatsoever that caffeine use has even remotely comparable physical and social consequences associated with serious drugs of abuse to buttress her position.

Speaking about other health benefits associated with coffee intake, Odukoya said it lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and increases mental alertness, as well as improves short term memory, as it reduces the risks of breast, colorectal, pancreatic, liver, ovarian and kidney cancers.

Also, there was a Norwegian report that claims that coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in lean women, but not in overweight women, while Iowa women’s study found no significant association between consumption of caffeine and coffee and breast cancer risk according to categories of body mass index.

Talking about the relationship between coffee intake and type-2 diabetes, Odukoya submitted that there have been more than 20 observational studies that have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and the relative risk of developing type-2 diabetes, noting that the studies have consistently demonstrated a significantly low risk of type-2 diabetes with increasing intake of daily coffee consumption.

“Daily intake of three to four cups per day of coffee was associated with a 25 per cent reduction in type-two diabetes when compared with intake of zero-two cops per day of coffee, while consumption of decaffeinated coffee, three to four cups per day was also associated with a 33 per cent lower risk of type two diabetes compared to no coffee consumption,” Odukoya explained.

According to her, coffee has numerous health benefits as evidenced by many recent peer review scientific studies, stressing that moderate amounts of coffee consumption may play an important role in maintaining good health.

In his presentation tagged: ‘Coffee and Life Expectancy,’ a Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Olusegun Joseph of LUTH said coffee is the most pleasurable hot beverage in the world and also one of the most controversial beverages globally, with a long history of being blamed for many ills.

Recent researches according to him indicate that coffee may not be so bad after all and may impact positively on life expectancy, which is how long a person is expected to live and also the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age, which depend on factors such as country, public health, medical care and life style including smoking, diet and exercise.

More importantly is healthy life expectancy, also referred to as Health Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) or Healthy Life Years (HLY), noting that the issue of healthy life expectancy stresses that increases in life expectancy alone are not important, what is important is that people live longer lives in better health.

He noted that a major determinant of life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is healthier lifestyles, while chronic conditions are one of the remaining causes of reduced HALE and life expectancy. A number of chronic conditions are directly or indirectly linked to lifestyle, especially unhealthy diet habits, use of tobacco, physical inactivity and psychosocial stress.

According to him, recent articles point to coffee as one of the good, healthy beverage choices and research over the past few years suggests that coffee consumption may protect heart failure, type-two diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, gall bladder disease’

This, according to him, is the reason why it is common to hear people in Europe, America and other industrial nations invite one another to coffee breaks and drink the beverage regularly. However, due to myth and misconception of coffee in most parts of Africa, coffee is not taken regularly enough.

Tags: Featured, Wellbeing, Water

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