Coffee offers unexpected health benefits

By Steve Petusevsky MCT

Remember when we simply ate food because it tasted good? Mom had dinner on the table at 6 p.m. when families sat down together to pass the mashed potatoes smothered with gravy and the vegetables along with a heavy casserole.

Food was food and much of it was from local markets, grocery stores or home grown.

That was then. But this is now. Food is no longer just food.

We’ve learned so much about how it affects our lives that what we eat has many other considerations than simply good taste.

It is the age of educational enlightenment. Most Americans now know about antioxidants, phytonutrients, co-enzymes and free radicals. We know that there are good fats and bad fats.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about coffee. It’s caught my attention because coffee is a part of my daily routine. Espresso, cappuccino, fresh-ground and pressed coffee are dear to me.

When reports first came across my desk about the potential health benefits of the antioxidants in coffee, I greeted them with enthusiasm. New research points to coffee as offering protection against type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and a certain type of hereditary breast cancer.

A study published last month says that coffee may counteract alcohol’s poisonous effects on the liver and help prevent cirrhosis. (It is unclear whether it’s the caffeine or some other ingredient in coffee that provides the protection.)