Spilling the beans about our favorite 'pick-me-up' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spilling the beans about our favorite 'pick-me-up'

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WASHINGTON. - How healthy is that cup of joe you enjoy each day?

The debate has raged for years and now the National Institutes of Health is weighing-in on the subject.

Whether you drink espresso, cafecito or American, could your favorite stimulant actually be good for the heart?

"There may be some suggestion, it may be in women it may a little cardioprotective, but I don't think anyone should have their coffee thinking they're getting a benefit out of the buzz they get from the coffee," Cardiologist Dr. Raul Mitrani says.

It does increase your heart rate, which can be a problem for some.

"In some people whoa re susceptible to arrythmias, which is another term for abnormal heartbeats, the coffee can trigger their abnormal rhythms and abnormal rates, so some people who have the arrythmias already may need to stay away from coffee," says Dr. Mitrani.

That recommendation goes for pregnant women as well.

"Caffeine can block the absorption of calcium, so when you block the absorption of calcium if you're drinking a lot of coffee, what's going to happen is your bones are going to get weaker," says Dietician Judi Wilcox.

For most of us a couple of cups a day pose no real health risk and because of it's increasing popularity, coffee has been the focus of a lot of recent research.

"Coffee beans are seeds, so they have a protective coating on them, so just like they protect their coating, they contain antioxidants and they're finding now it could potentially protect DNA," says Wilcox. 

This might explain some possible coffee benefits which include reducing the risk of liver cancer, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's Disease.

While coffee might help keep blood sugar more stable, it can also lead to a rise in LDL cholesterol.

How coffee is brewed might make a difference. Using paper filters can help remove some of the components that can lead to higher levels of bad cholesterol.
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