Macrobiotics and the Microbiome Part II

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Why are countries in the north big coffee consumers? Why are they attracted to such large quantities of yin? This attraction results from the consumption of foods with the opposite, or strong yang energy. In other words, the basis of temperate and northern diets is highly contractive, strongly yang animal food. Opposites attract. Coffee helps neutralize the strong contractive effects of heavy animal food consumption.

It is therefore no surprise that coffee has been discov­ered to help prevent Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia. This discovery was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to the study: “Coffee consumption is linked with reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD), and caf­feine is generally believed to be the protective agent. However, several lines of evidence suggest the presence of additional compound(s) in coffee that can be protective as well.” The researchers identified two compounds, caffeine and eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT), that work synergistically to reduce the formation of Lewy bodies. EHT is a fatty acid derivative of serotonin, a neurotrans­mitter that is used to transmit messages between nerve cells. It is found in the waxy coating of coffee beans.

Studies have identified other substances in coffee that convey protective effects. One study linked the phe­nylin­danes found in dark roast coffee with reduced risk of Par­kinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This compound is believed to prevent formation of the protein fragments associated with these conditions. Population studies also reveal that coffee could reduce the risk of de­veloping cognitive impairment. In a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, women between 65 and 80 years old who drank more than 250 milligrams of caffeine daily over a 10-year period were found to have a 30 percent lower risk of dementia.

Bettina Zumdick