Joltin' joe

September 13, 2005

DRINK A LOT of coffee? Good job.

It might make Americans jittery or feisty, but they get more antioxidants - those good-health nutritional nuggets - from drinking coffee than from eating or drinking anything else. Of course, that's because most folks drink a lot of coffee and don't eat the stuff that's really packed with antioxidants - prunes, cranberries, spinach, broccoli, whole grains and so on. But at least they're getting the good stuff from somewhere.

Recent research suggests additional benefits. People who drank one or two cups of coffee a day had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank it, according to Japanese researchers reporting in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Harvard researchers found that coffee-drinking men reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes by about half, while women reduced theirs by nearly 30 percent - though all were drinking six 8-ounce cups a day, quite a bit higher than the national average of 1.64 cups a day.

But overdosing on joe, with its attendant hair-trigger reactions and addictive behavior, isn't healthy. And people should be enjoying more fruits and vegetables. And there's a lot we don't know about antioxidants. These studies need further research.

For now, though, just pour some more of that beany brew - but use it to wash down some broccoli, just to be on the safe side.

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