FFE Magazine

Coffee or smoothie?

Caffeine or fruits? At first glance it may seem obvious which of the two is healthier. However, a study that followed the lives of 130,000 men and women coffee drinkers over 20 years showed some surprising results.

The researchers concluded that ‘regular coffee consumption was not associated with an increased mortality rate in either men or women.’ In fact, their study revealed that moderate coffee consumption was mildly protective, slightly lowering all-cause mortality of drinkers vs. non-drinkers.

Based on the study, the most effective daily ‘dose’ of coffee is 2-5 cups. More, and the benefits may not be felt.

Another study by World Journal of Biological Psychiatry showed that people who drank caffeinated coffee were half as likely to commit suicide as those who drank decaff or fewer than two cups a day. This study based its conclusions in data that followed 200,000 people over 14 years.

One reason why caffeine may have mild anti-depressant properties was that it made the brain more alert and increased dopamine and serotonin levels – neurotransmitters that improve mood. The researchers however noted that the studies often tested good, old-fashioned coffee. They cautioned that coffee varieties like cappuccinos, lattes and mochas contained more calories than plain black, white and white with sugar.

What about smoothies? A recent study revealed that by the time people had gotten rid of the peel and mashed the fibre during processing, the smoothie has already lost its potential health benefits. The researchers also found out that a majority of the 52 commercial smoothies they tested had more sugar and calories than a 12oz Coca Cola.

Dentists and doctors specialising in diabetes also have qualms over the sugary drink. The acid in fruit smoothies clings to teeth, and a study showed that while eating fruits can lower the risk of diabetes, drinking them can cause the reverse. Other studies showed that the sugary smoothies can increase insulin levels associated with rectal cancer and other cancers.

However, drinkers of the smoothie can still cling on to home-made juices, as there has not yet been a study related to home-made types.

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