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One of the lesser-known benefits of consuming a diet high in polyphenols is its beneficial impact on your gut bacteria.

Polyphenols are natural compounds found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and wine. They provide amazing health benefits as they proceed through the digestive tract. The majority of polyphenol compounds stay present all the way down to the colon where they are then broken down by your gut bacteria into metabolites.

Polyphenol-rich foods provide nutritional assistance that helps protect the health and welfare of your gut microbiome. They should be included in your diet along with such heavy hitters as probiotics and prebiotics.

Polyphenols Increase Good Bacteria

Your body contains approximately 10 trillion human cells, but over 100 trillion “good” bacteria. They outnumber you 10:1, so you need to protect and support them with your food choices. They can be negatively affected by antibiotics, stress, and poor food choices (fast food, processed food). Polyphenols provide the same type of benefits as prebiotics, meaning that they increase the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut.

I am a 365 day/year iced tea drinker, and wanted to see if drinking black tea would provide a more beneficial effect on gut bacteria than green tea because it is fermented, whereas green tea is not. Tea is one of the most researched of all the high-polyphenol foods, with many studies showing a positive link between the prebiotic effects of tea leaves and their polyphenol composition.

What is exciting is that not only do polyphenols increase the number of beneficial bacteria, they also inhibit the growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Catechin, a polyphenol found in tea, chocolate, apples, and blackberries, has been shown to significantly inhibit the proliferation of pathogens such as Clostridium histolyticum, Staphylococcus, and Salmonella.

Studies also show that tea consumption helps repress the growth of Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium difficile, and Bacteroides spp.

Include Polyphenol-Rich Foods for Balanced Gut Flora

Eating polyphenol-rich foods on a regular basis, along with probiotics, prebiotics, and resistant starch will balance your microbiome and help you achieve good gut health! Below is a list of some of the most polyphenol-rich foods, ranked from highest in polyphenols to lowest (per serving).

Top Polyphenol-Rich Foods:

  • Black elderberry
  • Blueberry
  • Coffee
  • Sweet cherry
  • Strawberry
  • Blackberry
  • Plum
  • Raspberry
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chestnut
  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Apple
  • Hazelnut
  • Red wine
  • Black grapes

 

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286313000946

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772042/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/98/6/1631S/4577455

 

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We have heard that coffee is bad for you so many times in our lives.  However, it turns out that drinking 2 to 3 cups a day may prove to be beneficial for your health and does not cause an increased risk of death

.coffee

Certain antioxidant substances in coffee may be associated with lower rates of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

Researchers don’t always know exactly which of coffee’s ingredients are responsible for producing the health-boosting results but there is evidence that drinking coffee may help:

  • Safeguard the liver

-coffee appears to be protective against certain liver disorders, lowering the risk of liver cancer by 40% and cirrhosis by as much as 80%.

-drinking coffee is associated with a drastically reduced risk of type II diabetes. People who drink several cups per day are the least likely to become diabetic

-coffee is associated with a much lower risk of dementia and the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

  • Promote heart health
  • Reduce melanoma risk

National Coffee Day is celebrated annually on September 29. All across the United States people will celebrate one of the most beloved morning beverages on this day. It is a popular morning favorite, but, it is also enjoyed throughout the day in a variety of ways: hot or cold and either black or with additives such as cream, milk, flavored syrups, creamers, sugar, and ice.

There are many deals for coffee drinkers on this day in September.  Check out this listing of National Coffee Day specials.  Use #NationalCoffeeDay to post on social media while you are enjoying an early morning, midday, or late night cup of coffee.

 

Writer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

K-State University Research and Extension, http://www.johnson.k-state.edu/health-nutrition/agents-articles/coffee-health-benefits.html

National Day Calendar, http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/surprise/

Pennsylvania State University Extension, http://extension.psu.edu/health/functional-foods/health-nutrition-fact-sheets/whats-the-scoop-on-coffee/extension_publication_file

Rush University Medical Center, https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/health-benefits-coffee

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Time to Coffee Makerclean your coffee maker? Using it each morning many of us forget to take the time to clean it. If you just heat water in it why do you have to clean it?

Mold and bacteria love a moist environment. Not drying it out between uses can cause growth. If there is still a little water or moisture in the coffee maker during the morning, bacteria can start to grow. In a study from the NSF International on coffee makers half of them had mold and yeast growing in their reservoirs. About ten percent had dangerous bacteria growing. In fact, some coffee makers had higher germ counts than bathroom door handles and toilet seats. If you think with a single-cup coffee maker you can avoid the problem think again. Any moist environment at room-temperature will allow bacteria to grow.

Cleaning Take out the white vinegar as it will help clean and “decalcify” or remove mineral buildup. You can get mineral buildup from regular tap water.

Pod-type or Single-use.

If you have a single-use or pod-type machine pour vinegar into the machine and run it through a few cycles. Then run water through a few cycles to avoid vinegar taste. You need to do this every month. This will also help to prevent any clogs in many nooks and crannies of the machine. Check your machine instruction book for what parts could be put in the dishwasher. YouTube has some videos on cleaning some machines. Make sure you use a clean drinking cup each time to avoid bacteria growth in your cup.

Classic Coffee Maker

If you have the classic coffee maker, pour half water and half vinegar into the brewing chamber and run through the machine until the chamber is half empty. Then stop the machine and let the mixture sit in the machine a half hour before finishing the brewing cycle. Use a paper filter in the brewing chamber. Fill the machine with water and a new paper filter and run through a cycle. Do this twice to avoid vinegar tasting coffee. Run this mixture through every month.

Daily you should make sure you clean your carafe with warm soapy water and soft scrubbie to remove any build-up in the carafe.  If it is dishwasher safe you can use the dishwasher. Clean the lid and filter basket daily, too. Leaving the brewing chamber open to air out or dry can help prevent some bacteria growth.

Cleaning will help your coffee taste better, as bacteria can add a bitter taste. Enjoy a safe cup of coffee or tea.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialist Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program Education, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Cohen, S., {2014]. Are you drinking mold with your coffee? Available at http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/are-you-drinking-mold-with-your-coffee-120214.html

Strutner, S. [2014). Your coffee maker is full of mold. Here’s how to clean it. The Huffington Post, Available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/29/how-to-clean-coffee-maker_n_5861026.html

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Are you ready for your morning coffee? With more than 80 percent of American adults consuming cacoffeeffeine on a regular basis, does caffeine really do harm to our bodies? That may depend upon amounts. Two to four cups of brewed coffee a day usually isn’t a problem for most people.

Caffeine may help in these situations:

• Mental stimulation – People who don’t have a dependence on caffeine or don’t use it regularly can become “significantly more alert and better able to perform cognitive and motor  tasks if given the right dose.” For regular users it offers few benefits in this area. What people think of as stimulating and good actually is due to the alleviation of withdrawal symptoms.

• Lack of Sleep – Caffeine can help you stay more alert when you are sleep deprived. However, you can build up a tolerance to caffeine so for regular users an extra boost is usually needed.

• Headaches – Caffeine acts as a mild pain reliever. It also constricts your blood vessels which can help since usually they dilate when you have a headache.

• Physical Performance – Caffeine can help you during an endurance exercise like running but is less effective for activities such as lifting weights or sprinting. This can be true for both regular users and non-users. Since caffeine also helps reduce pain you may exercise longer.

• Parkinson’s Disease – Studies have concluded that higher caffeine usage seems to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. Caffeine may help Parkinson’s patients with tremors or other motor symptoms. Again tolerance seems to negate long-term help.

• Gallstones – Studies show drinking two or three cups of regular coffee a day reduced the risk of gallstones for women 20 percent and for men 40 percent.

• Dementia – Caffeine may provide some protection against Alzheimer’s disease. More studies are needed.

Caffeine may hurt in these situations:

• Pregnancy – Women trying to get pregnant or already pregnant should avoid caffeine –containing foods and drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Caffeine can cause harmful effects on fertility, miscarriage, and fetal growth.

• Disrupted Sleep – Caffeine can affect your sleep or ability to fall asleep for up to 13 hours later.

• If you drink more than 4 cups a day you can experience these unpleasant effects: insomnia, restlessness, irritability, nervousness, stomach upset, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors. • Beware that some medications and herbal supplements can interact with caffeine. Check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Caffeine- Lack of effectsWeight scale

• Weight – There is no evidence that caffeine helps people lose or keep weight off, although many weight-loss supplements contain caffeine.

• Heart – A 30 year study in California didn’t find an increase in risk of cardiac arrhythmias among regular coffee drinkers.

• High Blood Pressure – Although caffeine can cause a modest increase in blood pressure, studies have not showed an increase in the development of hypertension among caffeine coffee drinkers.

Caffeine may be a part of your daily routine. As long as it doesn’t cause any problems for you… Enjoy!

Author: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension , Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA brinkman.93@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management; Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

References:

Mayo Clinic Staff, [2011]. Caffeine: How Much is too Much? Available online at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeine/NU00600

Schardt, D. [2012]. Caffeine! Nutrition Action Health Letter, December 2012, 39 (10), 7-8.

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You may have seen the newest information on coffee on the news in the past week – that drinking coffee may actually cut the depression risk for women. I admit I received health email updates on it and even got a message from my favorite local coffee shop promoting the benefit. So I thought others might be like me and wondering if this was something that can be trusted, or just the latest quack thing, so here is what I found.

The research was done by Harvard University on over 50,000 women as part of the Nurses’ Health Study, which is one of the largest health studies done on women in the United States. The results showed that women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day showed a 15% lower risk of depression, and those who drank four cups per day had a 20% lower risk. Keep in mind that this study should be replicated before we truly advocate the coffee consumption and depression link, but if you are already a coffee drinker – this may be a positive piece.

Other studies have also shown a link between the consumption of coffee and other positives in our health such as:

  • A reduced risk for type 2 diabetes with drinking caffeinated coffee.
  • A lower risk of prostate cancer and the most deadly type of prostate cancer for men who drank higher amounts of coffee.
  • A reduced risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer among those who were regular coffee consumers.
  • A lower risk of Parkinson ’s disease with higher consumption of coffee.

So what are the possible negatives for coffee and your health? Most of the research I found was linked to caffeine and a negative health consequence, not precisely coffee consumption. There is research linking caffeine and gout attacks, as well as heart burn. And the obvious link between caffeine and insomnia. Remember that caffeine from a cup of joe can stay in your system for up to 6 hours, so you probably want to switch to decaffeinated or avoid it all together after about 5:00 PM. There is also a great deal of
research linking larger caffeine consumption and pregnancy issues – so discuss this with your health professional.

My conclusion after looking at the new research and coffee consumption was that it does have some positive effects and a couple cups, earlier in the day could provide some health benefits.

Sources:

Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/

Web MD, http://www.webmd.com/

JNCI, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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