The perks of a cup of coffee

Coffee is less of a drink and more like a cult in Australia, and the health benefits of a couple of cups of coffee a day are mounting up.

A recent report published in peer-reviewed kidney support site has found the link between coffee consumption and a lower risk of acute kidney injury (AKI).

And the numbers are impressive. The study followed 14,000-plus adults aged 45 to 65 over 24 years.

It found there was a 15 per cent lower risk of an AKI in those who drank coffee compared with those who did not drink coffee at all.

And the results improved for the participants who drank more coffee.

For those who drank two to three cups of coffee, there was a 22–23 per cent lower risk of an AKI.

Read: Want to live longer? Have another coffee

AKI can be caused by reduced blood supply to the kidneys, damage caused by a medication or infection, kidney stones or an enlarged prostate.

It occurs when there is an abrupt loss of kidney function to the point where the body accumulates waste products and becomes unable to maintain electrolyte, acid-base and water balance.

Some AKIs can be easily fixed with medication and diet, but in others it can lead to a lifelong chronic condition.

While the results of the study are good news for coffee drinkers, it appears no-one is sure why coffee reduces AKIs.

University of Maryland professor Dr Matthew Weir, a nephrology specialist, told (MNT) that the results, while conclusive, did not offer clues.

Dr Weir was not involved in the study.

“[The researchers] provide theories, but there are numerous problems with retrospective data review, which may confound the observations and limit the validity. At least there was no evidence of harm,” Dr Weir said.

Read: Does coffee help you lose weight?

And indeed, the authors of the report themselves agreed there were limitations to the results as the study relied on participant recollection rather than direct measurements.

Dr Kalie Tommerdahl, assistant professor of paediatric endocrinology at the University of Colorado, and Dr Chirag Rohit Parikh, director of the Division of Nephrology at Johns Hopkins University, both authors of the study, told MNT that they conducted a companion study to further understand the potential links.

The researchers concluded that they needed to further study the potential of coffee consumption in larger studies of a longer duration.

The authors also agreed that other caffeinated drinks such as tea or soft drinks should also have been taken into account.

Read: Could leftover coffee help feed your plants?

Coffee contains many beneficial compounds for health including caffeine, diterpene and chlorogenic acid, which is also found in eggplant, peaches and prunes. However, caffeine is the most studied part of coffee.

Coffee has also been linked to the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

AKIs increases with age, with the hospital admission rate for those aged 85 and older at four times that of those aged 65–74. And Australian government figures show Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders suffer AKIs at almost twice the rate of the rest of the population.

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Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


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