Yet another study on caffeine has reversed past negative beliefs about the substance and the food most associated with it, coffee. This more recent study by a team at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, Israel, involved 80 subjects in an attempt to record caffeine’s effects on the heart. The subjects were given either the equivalent amount of caffeine found in three cups of coffee or a placebo. Ultrasound was used to study the effects of the caffeine on the heart and circulatory system. The researchers found that the layer of the vein that regulates blood flow and prevents plaque buildup was helped by the caffeine; the vein’s functioning was actually improved. One of the researchers stressed the importance of this layer in saying, "You cannot have a heart attack if this layer in intact." The researchers admitted that these findings are very preliminary. Drinking coffee with sugar and other additions is somewhat different than taking pure caffeine in a pill. The exact amount of caffeine in each cup can vary depending on variety, brand and how it was prepared, from the roast to the brewing. Espresso roasts, being darker, have less caffeine but their method of brewing yields more caffeine per oz. Even so, the espresso serving is about two ounces while regular coffee servings are usually eight ounces. Of course, another factor involved in deciding coffee’s impact on health is its complexity. Possessing a large number of substances, coffee’s most important actor on health are its antioxidants, whose impact is very positive. Many of its natural substances have yet to be studied. The Sheba team understands this and hopes to do further studies using coffee itself as the subject. For coffee lovers, it still seems that coffee in moderate intakes of an average of three servings a day plays a beneficial role in heart heath. Certainly, common sense tells us that, though coffee itself is healthy, if we can’t drink it without a load of sugar and cream, it might lose its health effects. If you need it sweet, you might look into a natural sweetener like stevia and use milk, or just a little cream, if dairy isn’t a problem for you.
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