You probably know that coffee seems to help wake you up in the morning—and afternoon, and sometimes in the evening, too. But did you know it might help prevent diabetes?
Studies examining the links between diet and diabetes risk have shown that coffee drinkers have a slightly reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease—and type 2 diabetes. Of all the foods we consume, “coffee has the most potential to prevent type 2 diabetes,” says Marilyn Cornelis, PhD, a nutritionist and assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“With diabetes, the more coffee the better, according to epidemiological studies.”
With the help of a grant from the American Diabetes Association, Cornelis is beginning to investigate why that might be. Caffeine may not be one of those reasons—it has been shown to increase blood glucose levels.
Instead, Cornelis thinks other substances in coffee could be at play. “Coffee is an important source of caffeine, but it’s also got other chemicals that might be protective,” she says. The complex aromas that coffee buffs savor come from hundreds of different chemical compounds released in the roasting process, for example, and coffee is known to contain high levels of antioxidants.
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