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Family History of Diabetes? Drinking Coffee May Decrease Your Risk, New Study Finds

Researchers found that regularly drinking caffeinated coffee might minimize the risk of type 2 diabetes.

More than 37 million people in the United States deal with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While that means that you surely know someone who has diabetes, it also means that you may have family members who face the disease. If that's the case, then you may want to take certain steps to lower your risk of developing diabetes which might involve drinking coffee, according to a new study.

The study that was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition took a look at 4,522 female participants who had a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Keeping track of those involved from 1991–2017, checks were done every two to four years in order to note various factors such as lifestyle habits, diet—including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption, demographic, and disease. Beyond that, blood samples were taken from participants who didn't have diabetes between 2012–2014 and analyzed for glucose metabolism biomarkers.

During the study, it was found that 979 of the participants had developed type 2 diabetes. The results also showed that regularly drinking caffeinated coffee was associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

pouring coffee

"The study is interesting and important because it shows that coffee can have a positive impact on the lives of women, who are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes," Amber Dixon, CEO, dietitian, and geriatric nurse at Elderly Assist Inc., tells Eat This, Not That!  "It's possible that caffeine has a different effect on women than men, which would make sense given the findings of this study."

"The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, a stimulant that can help to lower blood sugar levels. This is because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, which lowers insulin levels and increases glucose absorption," Dixon explains, when it comes to how caffeinated coffee can potentially help to prevent diabetes.

The researchers found that coffee consumption was associated with an improved metabolic profile—which means that drinking more coffee may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by helping you maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure levels," Dixon also notes.

"In addition to acting as a dietary supplement for diabetes, coffee and caffeine have been shown to have several other health benefits, including reducing the risk of Parkinson's disease due to the antioxidants, and reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease due to the caffeine," Dixon continues.

If you're curious about the amount of coffee that you might want to regularly consume, Dixon says that "drinking caffeine in moderation—one to three cups a day—may be beneficial for the brain, heart, and other organs."

On the other hand, "consuming more than four cups of coffee per day may actually be harmful to your health and increase the risk of heart disease and some cancers," Dixon warns. "Drinking five or more cups of coffee per day can cause severe side effects such as insomnia, irritability, and anxiety," she adds.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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