Can that afternoon Americano actually be good for you? Does that Red Bull have more or less caffeine than the same amount of coffee? Test your coffee knowledge with this coffee 101!


Can 3 cups of daily joe helps boost your memory?

In November 2005, Austrian researchers confirmed that caffeinated coffee cantemporarily sharpen your focus and memory. After giving volunteers the caffeine equivalent of about two cups of coffee, their brain activity was increased in two locations – the memory-rich frontal lobe and the attention-controlling anterior cingulum.

Now a new study published in the August 7, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found the effects of coffee may be longer lasting – specifically in women. At the end of this four-year study, researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank more than three cups of coffee per day (or the caffeine equivalent in tea) had 33% less decline in memory over time than women who drank one cup or less of coffee or tea per day.

This caffeine-memory association was not observed in men – the authors hypothesize that perhaps that’s because men and women metabolize caffeine differently.

This is exciting news for women, though it’s certainly too premature to recommend caffeine as a memory cure-all. And it’s important to point out that this study found no protective effect for true dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.


Can Coffee and exercise prevent skin cancer?

According to a new Rutgers University study on mice (it has yet to be tested on humans), the combination of exercise and caffeine increases the body’s ability to combat precancerous cells damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The caffeine consumption alone helped destroy precancerous skin cells, as did the exercise alone. But the two together provided significant protection. Dr. Allan Conney, one of the paper’s authors, points out the possibility of some sort of synergy between the two.

Of course, this is not a substitute for sunscreen!


Could Coffee serve as a potent diuretic?

It’s true the stimulant effect of coffee can act as a slight diuretic. However, the overall volume of water you consume while enjoying your cup of coffee will more than make up for the small amount lost in your urine.


Do Energy drinks deliver more caffeine than coffee?

 It varies from drink to drink. For example, Red Bull is known as an ultimate energy drink, but it only contains 80 milligrams of caffeine in one 8-ounce can – less than the 100 milligrams in an average cup of coffee. That said, this is a case-by-case comparison…. check the caffeine amount on the label to know for sure.


Could Coffee enhance your workout?

A burst of caffeine before a workout can give you a slight edge: As little as 100 milligrams of caffeine – the amount in just a cup of coffee – has been shown to improve the athletic performance of dedicated exercisers (though casual exercisers won’t experience the same boost). Researchers aren’t sure why, but it may be because caffeine signals your muscles to ignore fatigue and contract differently.


P.S. The following folks should avoid caffeine altogether:

  • People who are caffeine sensitive: The stimulant effects of caffeine will exacerbate restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and/or headaches.
  • People with sleeping issues: Caffeine can stay in your system anywhere from three to eight hours. So depending on your personal sensitivity, stop drinking it accordingly.
  • People with gastrointestinal problems: A dose of caffeine may irritate your stomach if you have irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers.
  • People with elevated blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythms: In this case, your personal physician knows best.
  • People with severe PMS and cystic breasts: Caffeine has been shown to worsen these conditions.
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