Leading health experts, amongst whom were Dr. Brai Bartholomew, a researcher from the Nigerian Institution of Medical Research (NIMR), Lagos, Dr. KemiOdukoya, a public health physician from LUTH and Dr. D. A. Olusegun-Joseph, a consultant cardiologist from LUTH, have dispelled the notion by many that coffee consumption is bad for health, saying coffee is a beverage which can be part of a healthy diet.
The experts spoke during a forum tagged: Ignite 2013 Stakeholders’ Parley, held at Protea Hotel, G.R.A, Ikeja, Lagos, recently.
According to Dr. Batholomew, coffee the second most drunk beverage after water, is the most researched food substance, with over 20,000 publications on the topic: Coffee and Health.
The NIMR researcher said that coffee has natural bioactive compounds with beneficial properties and is naturally rich in antioxidants from the chlorogenic acid family, adding that the total antioxidants represent about 25 per cent of coffee solids in instant coffee.
On the health benefits of coffee, Dr. Batholomew said that coffee enhances mental and physical performance and helps lower risk of colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, hepatic diseases, alzheimer’s disease, parkinson’sdiease and inflammation.
He argued that science proves that moderate coffee consumption, which is about 2 – 5cups daily, can be beneficial to health.
Also speaking on the health benefits of coffee at the event, Dr. KemiOdukoya said that coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, which helps to protect the body from wear and tear.
She stated further that antioxidants help protect cells and tissues by turning harmful free radicals into neutral species and by stimulating the production of natural antioxidant defenses.
On claims that coffee causes addiction, Dr. Odukoya said that the WHO has stated that there “is no evidence whatsoever that caffeine use has even remotely comparable physical and social consequences associated with serious drugs of abuse.”
She stated that coffee consumption helps reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer and prostrate cancer.
According to Dr. D. A. Olusegun-Joseph, even though coffee is the most pleasurable hot beverage in the world, it is also the most controversial beverage globally with a long history of being blamed for many ills.
He, however, noted that recent researches indicate that coffee may not be so bad after all and may in fact impact positively on life expectancy.
The cardiologist explained that a number of chronic conditions are directly or indirectly linked to lifestyle, especially unhealthy diet habits, use of tobacco, physical inactivity and psychosocial stress. He added that a major aspect of the lifestyle modification target is promotion of healthy eating habits, which includes consumption of healthy drinks.
He said recent articles point to coffee as one of the good healthy beverage choices, adding that research over the past few years suggests that coffee consumption may protect against heart failure, type 2 diabetes, parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, gall bladder disease, etc.
He, however, warned that coffee drinking is not intended to replace other health lifestyle behaviours like exercise, smoking cessation, reduced salt and fatty meals.