Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Mexican Coffee Drinker Gets "Not So Smart"

I recently came across an interview of blogger and author David  McRaney on Science 360 radio using my niffty TuneIn Radio App I downloaded onto my Blackberry. The interview got my attention when I realized McRaney, who grew up in rural Mississippi with a conspiracy theories obsessed father, was someone on a mission to prove something: to prove that critical thinking, analysis and reflection are the best way to go. Now, these are ideas that I am totally feeling and I take the whole "independent  thinker" shtick to heart.

Taking a  look at his blog, You Are Not So Smart:  A Celebration of Self Delusion,   there is a lot to get the independent thinking juices flowing.   Being  that this blog is dedicated to life in Mexico the post  titled  Coffee  caught my eye and at 38 weeks pregnant, coffee is one drug I consume daily. Mexico, according to the  National Coffee Association, is one of the world's largest coffee producing countries. This particular post  was published two  years ago and in it McRaney writes:

"The Misconception: Coffee stimulates you. The Truth: You become addicted to caffeine quickly, and soon you are drinking coffee to cure withdrawal more than for stimulation."  

There has been  more research published on coffee and the other more than 1,000 ingredients found in the beverage  since  McRaney summed up the misconception  and  laid  down "the  truth".  

In 2011,  an article on  Science Daily.com stated that researchers studying Alzheimer's found  " the first evidence that caffeinated coffee offers protection against the memory-robbing disease that is not possible with other caffeine-containing drinks or decaffeinated coffee."  Being the granddaughter of an Alzheimer's patient as well as the daughter of a stroke survivor, relating caffeine  consumption to protecting the brain is something for me to get excited about.  However, caffeine is addictive but I wonder am I really "drinking coffee to cure withdrawal more than for stimulation"?  I am also drinking it because  it  can  (maybe) possibly be good for me. 

Just this month the Chicago Tribune published the  article  "What is it about coffee? Research showing benefits for everything from liver disease to Alzheimer's?"  where a list  of  research related  information goes  into how  consuming coffee is not  just addictive but has many health benefits.  Some specialists, however, warn against the consumption  of coffee  pregnant women and children, one such being  Tasmanian  defence nutritionist, Chris Forbes-Ewan, but praises the benefits for certain humans, like Olympic  athletes. 

As I  type this post,  I have  just finished my one cup of Mexican grown coffee I bought at a local coffee shop. I have not stopped my consumption of coffee during any of my pregnancies and perhaps I am just like  McRaney says, not as  smart as I think I am, but I do know that contradicting research comes out almost  daily.  Coffee is addictive and  as it turns out, drinking it daily can also be very  good for me, which is also an important part of  "the  truth".  So, for now, I will stick to my one cup a day and  continue to use  coffee not only as a stimulant but as preventative  medicine. Maybe some scientist will publish research that  shows  that coffee makes you smarter...then  I really will be as smart as  I think  I am!