A new study shows that coffee consumption can decrease a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This important 11-year study showed that decaffeinated coffee, in particular, was associated with a lower risk of diabetes in women. Mark A. Periera, PhD, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, along with his colleagues, reported that the reduced risk of diabetes seen in coffee drinkers may be related to the minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants found in coffee. Their findings were reported in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The researchers analyzed data from the Iowa Women’s Health Study, which took place from 1986 to 1997. This massive study included over 28,000 women who had already gone through menopause and did not have diabetes or cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study. Women who drank 6 or more cups of coffee daily had 22% lower risk for type 2 diabetes when compared to women who did not drink coffee at all. Interestingly, most of this association was related to women who drank decaffeinated, not caffeinated coffee.
In another medical research study, van Dam and colleagues published an article in the February 2006 issue of Diabetes Care which examined the association of various levels of consumption of coffee and tea. In their study, they utilized data from the second Nurses’ Health Study, which included over 88,000 women in the United States. Their study also revealed that coffee intake was associated with lower risk for type 2 diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, over 9 million women in the United States have diabetes, and close to a third are unaware of their diagnosis. Diabetes can be particularly hard on women, both in young adulthood and beyond. Pregnant women with diabetes are more likely to have a miscarriage or have a baby with birth defects. Also, diabetic women are more likely to suffer a heart attack than women who do not have this disease.
There are two major categories of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetics develop their disease in childhood. Their bodies basically do not make the insulin that is required to regulate blood sugar levels. Therefore, they require insulin. On the other hand, in type 2 diabetes, the body may either make too little insulin or it may be resistant to the normal effects of insulin on the body. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than the type 1 variety. It occurs later in life and is often managed by lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, dietary changes, and exercise. However, many type 2 diabetics require oral diabetes medication, while others require insulin.
Unfortunately, diabetes is incurable and is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. While the findings of these two studies are quite significant, as with all medical issues, one should consult with her physician before blindly adopting a new lifestyle practice. What is safe for one patient may be potentially dangerous for another.
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