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Doctor Curmudgeon® You Beautiful Bean!


By Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAP Doctor Eisman is in Family Practice in Aventura, Florida with her partner, Dr. Eugene Eisman, an internist/cardiologist

My morning is not complete without a freshly ground, newly brewed cup of fragrant black coffee.

Of course, I have a favorite brand of beans, darkly roasted with some of the proceeds going to support a haven for Wolves in Colorado( mission wolf coffee )

And so I begin my day with a bold and energetic brew, while at the same time supporting this solar powered nature center.

Over the decades, many negative myths have abounded about imbibing this dark brew.

A study done in 1981 cited a link between coffee drinking and pancreatic cancer. However, in the ensuing years, subsequent studies have found no association.

Several analyses of the data from that study found it to be seriously flawed.

Another myth was popular in my youth. It was bandied about that coffee could stunt your growth!

Please! Not so!

Look around you; at your parents and grandparents and family. It’s those inherited genes that determine your height.

Beware! If you drink coffee, you can get dehydrated.

Lest we forget, coffee is about 95% water and this can legally be counted as part of your daily water consumption.

But wait…doesn’t coffee give you insomnia?

Well, personally, I can enjoy a cup of espresso in the evening and then go right to sleep. Yes, coffee can give you a temporary and brief feeling of being alert (did not help me in medical school). It doesn’t really cause insomnia.

What about after a long night with your friends in your favorite club, raising your blood alcohol level? Coffee should do the trick; it helps you sober up.

Unfortunately, no. You may briefly feel a tad more sober, but watch out for that breathalyzer and don’t drive. Coffee will not lower the alcohol level in your body.

Remember that coffee is actually an extract from a bean. And some of the components of that bean have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

From the December issue of the Tufts Health & Nutrition letter:

“A study that followed nearly 400,000 middle-aged individuals in the U.K. for a median of over 10 years found that compared to individuals who reported drinking less than one cup of coffee a day, drinking four or more eight-ounce cups a day was associated with lower risk of 30 medical conditions…The most common conditions were cardio metabolic (including high blood pressure ischemic heart disease, and diabetes) and gastrointestinal (like stomach ulcers, diverticulitis and gall stones)….This study does not prove cause and effect if you do not currently drink coffee there is no recommendation to start.”

All I am trying to say is that if you enjoy a couple of cups of coffee a day, that’s OK. Your nose will not fall off, your skin will not turn green and your partner will (hopefully) still be your partner.

But do it in moderation.

We had a patient who did feel a tad jittery and when questioned, he said that he drank six cups of coffee daily. My partner inquired as to what size cup he was using.

The patient responded, “Oh no, Doc. Not six cups, six POTS of coffee”

The gentleman cut down to one pot a day and felt fine.

Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

However keep in mind the Greek poet, Hesiod, who said “’observe due measure; moderation is best in all things”

Dr. Curmudgeon suggests “Bitter Medicine”, Dr. Eugene Eisman’s story of his experiences–from the humorous to the intense—as a young army doctor serving in the Vietnam War.

Bitter Medicine by Eugene H. Eisman, M.D. –on Amazon

Doctor Curmudgeon® is Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D., a physician-satirist. This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors.

SERMO www.sermo.com “talk real world medicine”

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