Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ON ASTHMA & COFFEE




Since I was a child, I've been an asthmatic. Asthma was an inherited illness from my paternal and maternal side of the family genealogy. I grow up frail and always carry with me an inhaler to control sudden attacks of asthma. Dust, Animal hair or dander, Changes in weather, Mold, Pollen, Chemicals in air or food and Strong emotions (stress) are the triggering factors of my asthma attacks. But as I grow up, my asthma attacks lessened and I was your typical, normal individual. There were two things I discovered that controlled my asthma attacks: Running and Coffee. Yes, you heard me right. Those things really worked for me. But in this post, I will focus on COFFEE as a beneficial drink to ward off asthma attacks.





There was a time way back, when I joined my father’s company outing. We went to a private resort in Bacon, Sorsogon. Before you reach Sorsogon, you have to pass by Legazpi, Albay. That was the time when Mayon Volcano was on its active state, spewing volcanic lava and ash. The ashes (mainly because of the sulfuric gas accompanied by it) must have triggered my asthma attack. When we arrived at the resort my asthma got worst and I haven’t with me my trusted inhaler. One of the mothers recommended that I should drink black, strong coffee. And so, I did. True enough, my asthma attack subsided. So, whenever I started to feel an asthma attack is coming I would drink my brewed coffee strong and black.

There was this article from The Harvard Crimson: Can Coffee Help Asthma Sufferers? that tackles about coffee and its role in asthma prevention. Here is a summary:

A study was performed by a Harvard physician regarding asthmatic suffering nearly one-third FEWER symptoms of asthma than those who live without java. Dr. Scott T. Weiss concluded from a study of more than 20,000 patients that caffeine might serve to relax the constricted lung tissues which cause asthma. In asthma patients, the muscles surrounding the bronchial passages constrict, blocking the passage of air and making breathing difficult. Senior Environmental Protection Agency scientist Joel D. Schwarz, who collaborated with Weiss on the study, explained that caffeine is chemically similar to theophylline-a bronchodilator and an asthma treatment. It is effective against such constriction because it relaxes these muscles.

Weiss stressed that while caffeine can relieve some background symptoms of asthma, coffee is not a substitute for appropriate therapy for asthma.

"If you took away coffee, more symptoms would be reported," said Weiss. "If you've got asthma, see a doctor and get the right medicine." 



Here are some Coffee Trivia you might find interesting:

  • A scientific report form the University of California found that the steam rising from a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as three oranges. The antioxidants are heterocyclic compounds which prevents cancer and heart disease. It's good for you!

  • Dark roasted coffees actually have LESS caffeine than medium roasts. The longer a coffee is roasted, the more caffeine burns off during the process. 

  • Large doses of coffee can be lethal. Ten grams, or 100 cups over 4 hours, can kill the average human.

  • Milk as an additive to coffee became popular in the 1680's, when a French physician recommended that cafe au lait be used for medicinal purposes. 

  • Retail espresso vendors report an increase in decaffeinated sales in the month of January due to New Year's resolutions to decrease caffeine intake.

  • Special studies conducted about the human body revealed it will usually absorb up to about 300 milligrams of caffeine at a given time. About 4 normal cups. Additional amounts are just cast off, providing no further stimulation. Also, the human body dissipates 20% of the caffeine in the system each hour.

  • The word "tip" dates back to the old London coffeehouses. Conspicuously placed brass boxes etched with the inscription, "To Insure Promptness," encouraged customers to pay for efficient service. The resulting acronym, TIP, has become a byword. 

  •  Coffee's main benefit comes from its wealth of antioxidants. In fact, the coffee bean, which is technically a berry, has one of the highest antioxidant contents of all berries, says Tomas de Paulis, Ph.D., formerly of the Vanderbilt University for Coffee Studies.

  • 2 or more cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 25%.

  • The likelihood of developing gallstones is decreased nearly 50% by drinking at least 2 cups of coffee per day.
  • Coffee cures or diminishes some types of headaches.
  •  The risk of liver cirrhosis is reduced by 80% with the ingestion of 2 or more cups of coffee each day. 
  •  6 studies have found that regular (caffeinated) coffee drinkers reduce their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by as much as 80%.

  • A compound in coffee called Trigonelline has anti-adhesive and antibacterial properties, which helps prevent cavities.

  • A Harvard longitudinal study of 126,000 people found that 1 to 3 cups of caffeinated coffee per day can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by less than 10%, while 6 or more cups per day reduces women’s risk by 30% and men’s by 54%. Drinking decaffeinated coffee reduces the risk for diabetes by approximately half that achieved with caffeinated coffee.

  • There is evidence that caffeine can benefit athletic performance by increasing endurance in the short term, so much so that the Olympic Games Committee had designated it a controlled substance until recently.  









On regular days (that is, when I have no asthma attack) I like my brewed coffee strong and with creamer... how about yours? =)

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