Objective: Coffee is a beverage used worldwide. It includes a wide array of components that can have potential implication on health. We have reviewed publications on the impact of coffee on a series of health outcomes.
Methods: Articles published between January 1990 and December 2012 were selected after crossing coffee or caffeine with a list of keywords representative of the most relevant health areas potentially affected by coffee intake.
Results: Caffeine, chlorogenic acids and diterpenes are important components of coffee. Tolerance often acts as a modulator of the biological actions of coffee. There is a significant impact of coffee on the cardiovascular system, and on the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. Contrary to previous beliefs, the various forms of arterial cardiovascular disease, arrhythmia or heart insufficiency seem unaffected by coffee intake. Coffee is associated with a reduction in the incidence of diabetes and liver disease. Protection seems to exist also for Parkinson's disease among the neurological disorders, while its potential as an osteoporosis risk factor is under debate. Its effect on cancer risk depends on the tissue concerned, although it appears to favor risk reduction. Coffee consumption seems to reduce mortality.
Conclusion: The information gathered in recent years has generated a new concept of coffee, one which does not match the common belief that coffee is mostly harmful. This view is further supported by the discovery of a series of phyto-components with a beneficial profile. Reasonable optimism needs to be tempered, however, by the insufficiency of the clinical data, which in most cases stem from observational studies.
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