coffee

  1. Coffee drinkers live longer

    Some good news and bad news for coffee drinkers: The good news is that people who drink the most, live the longest, according to a new study.

    The bad news? By "most" I mean a lot of coffee -- a quart and a half a day, every day.

    Juan Valdez probably doesn't drink that much, but researchers say their study of more than 400,000 people finds that men who drank six cups a day -- that's 48 piping hot ounces -- had a 10 percent lower risk of death during the 14-year study than non-drinkers.

    Women got an even bigger boost, with those who drank those same six or more daily cups 15 percent less likely to die during the study than those who drank none at all.

    The benefits -- if they really came from the coffee -- didn't come from the caffeine, since the researchers found that decaf drinkers shared the lower death risk.

    That's good news for the millions of people who can't tolerate caffeine, or can't tolerate it very well. In addition, even people who can drink a cup or two with no ill effects will find themselves battling everything from the jitters to sleeplessness when they try to knock back a quart and a half a day.

    But coffee is a lot more than a cup of caffeine. Regular and decaf coffee is actually chock full o' antioxidants, and studies have found that coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of everything from dementia and Parkinson's disease to diabetes.

    That said, you don't need to drink a quart and a half a day to get plenty of healthy antioxidants. You don't even have to drink coffee -- because tea, especially green tea, is also loaded with antioxidants, and studies have found that green tea drinkers enjoy even more benefits than coffee drinkers.

    But there's an even better way to get your antioxidants, and that's from fresh vegetable juices. Not only are they both delicious and refreshing, but they also won't elevate blood pressure or aggravate heart rhythm problems as coffee and tea can do to some patients.

  2. Brain stents kill stroke patients

    Six years ago, the feds rushed the approval of brain stents for patients facing a high risk of stroke, claiming they needed to act quickly on "compassionate" grounds.

    Today, I just have to wonder whose compassion they had in mind -- because it's certainly not those stroke patients: They began dropping dead so quickly and so often that the latest study on the stents had to be cut short.

    And instead of waiting to get the results published, the researchers quickly posted them online to help spread the word to docs around the world that this "treatment" is more like a death sentence.

    In the doomed study, researchers gave 450 patients who had suffered a stroke or stroke-like symptoms either the usual treatments to reduce risk factors or the stents, which are supposed to open narrowed arteries in the brain.

    In the first 30 days after treatment, 15 percent of the stent patients had a second stroke or died -- versus just 6 percent of those in the control group. Over the course of a year, 20.5 percent of the stent patients had a stroke or died, versus 11.5 percent of those in the control group.

    The researchers say they're still trying to figure out why the stent patients had such a dramatically higher risk of stroke and death, but does it even matter at this point?

    The risks are just way too high, and that brings us back to square one -- because there's still no surefire way to eliminate your risk of stroke, and any drug or treatment that claims otherwise is selling an empty promise.

    The best and only way to protect yourself is to focus on lifestyle changes, and not the ones your doctor has been recommending.

    He'll probably tell you that cholesterol has something to do with stroke -- even the National Stroke Association puts it high on the list, right after hypertension and atrial fibrillation. But a study earlier this year found that LDL levels were only a stroke risk factor in men when they reached the sky-high level of 350. (Read about it here.)

    Other than that, the researchers found no link at all -- so whatever you do, don't let anyone talk you into taking a statin to lower your stroke risk.

    Another blood fat, triglycerides, can boost your stroke risk -- but you don't need a drug to slash those.

    Fish oil will do the trick for you.

    Along with omega-3 fatty acids, studies have found that coffee, olive oil, and a positive outlook can all lower your risk of stroke. I've got one more coming up next -- and it's something you might be eating everyday anyway.

    Keep reading!

  3. The myth of the 'senior moment'

    The "senior moment" -- it's one of the most common stereotypes in movies and on television. But the "senior moment" used so often for cheap laughs isn't nearly as "common" as you've been led to believe. In fact, most seniors barely experience any significant form of cognitive decline over the years.
  4. Why your doctor needs more sleep

    How sharp would you be after 28 hours without sleep? If your answer is "not very," you're like most people. Doctors are like most people, too, once you take away the white coats, stethoscopes, and medical degrees -- but they're routinely scheduled for those infamous 28-hour shifts during their residencies.
  5. Always look on the bright side of life

    Your outlook could play a direct role in your stroke risk, with the most negative people facing the most negative outcomes.
  6. The 'secret ingredient' in coffee

    I love a good mystery -- and there's one brewing right now in the world of coffee. Now, a new study has found two ingredients in particular that seem to work together to protect you against Alzheimer's disease. One is caffeinate, and the other is...well, that's where the mystery comes in.
  7. Cuppa jo cuts stroke risk in women

    Everyone's favorite caffeine boost can do a lot more than perk you up--a new study finds that coffee may actually slash the risk of stroke in women.
  8. Study touts coffee as cancer fighter… but there’s a catch

    According to the research, which was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, caffeine has the ability to target and kill abnormal cells that have been damaged by UV rays.

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