Skip to main content

Can A Cup O' Joe Treat Your Asthma?


Physicians have known about the beneficial effect of coffee for treating asthma and COPD symptoms since at least 1859, when its effects were documented in the Edinburgh Medical Journal. How does coffee help treat asthma, to what degree, and what side effects might be encountered?

Briefly, let's look at asthma. It is caused by a constriction of the bronchi, which can be allergy-induced, exercise-induced, environment-induced or stress-induced. Studies indicate asthma may also be exacerbated by vitamin D deficiency. Typical treatments for severe asthma include theophyllin or epinephrine – which is in the adrenaline family. The key to treating asthma is to relax the bronchial tubes to allow oxygen to pass.

Coffee helps on two levels.

First, the chemical composition of caffeine is similar to that of theophyllin. It is in a class of drugs, methylxanthines, which are very close to adenosines, which may mean nothing to anyone who doesn't weat a white coat. Caffeine binds to adenosine cells without activating them, which in turn releases adrenaline, and nonadrenaline, to the brain. The presence of adrenaline serves as a potent bronchodilator and an effective anti-allergen.

Second. The warmth of the coffee may have a soothing effect, helping the asthma sufferer to relax, thereby relaxing the bronchi. It's a comfort factor that can be achieved with other warm, non-dairy beverages, such as tea, boullion or a hot toddy.

It's easy to see how caffeine can replicate some of the effects
of theophylline and provide short-term relief for asthma sufferers.

Side effects for theophyllin may include nausea, vomiting, persistent headaches, insomnia or rapid heart beat. Caffeine intake may exacerbate these symptoms, and is not recommended in conjunction with theophyllin treatment.  Documented studies show the positive effects for caffeine last about two to four hours, which could be enough to prevent a major asthma attack or emergency room visit.

In a pinch, coffee can be used as a bronchodilator and allergen represser.  



Next week: Cooking with Beer

Article ID: TAK4-coffee_asthma

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Going Curdless: Tips to Avoid Curdling

A good rule of thumb for cooking with dairy products, including cream, milk, eggs, butter, cheese and mayonnaise, is:  patience!

Sauces made with milk,  cream and cheese may curdle for several reasons:
not enough fat content.  Skim milk will curdle more than heavy cream, and low-fat creams and cheeses are more likely to curdle than their whole-fat compadres.too high heat.  Cream sauces must be cooked at low temps. Use a thermometer to ensure temperatures stay lower than 175 degrees F.too much acid.  Cream should be added last (with exceptions like lemon juice). Wine can be very acidic, and should be reduced.  any ingredients should be of medium temperature before cream is introduced, as it will separate at boiling.
How curdling occurs:
Dairy fats combine to form a rubbery mesh, which squeezes out water.

One possibility to prevent curdling is Carrageenan.  There are three kinds, and Lambda Carrageenan is best for sauces because it is water soluble. It is derived from red seaweed.  80% of th…

Love Me Tender: Natural Tenderizers

Meat derives much of its flavor from fat.  The ideal cuts have fat “marbled” in its texture.  Some cuts of meat are simply tough.  Many meat tenderizers are available on the market.  The critical ingredient in most of these is papain.  As you might guess, papain comes from papaya.  I was not able to figure that out on my own.  I though it came from the Pope.

Good news!  You can tenderize your meat without a packaged meat tenderizer or papal intercession. 

Liquify or smash ripe papaya to create a tasty marinade that will tenderize your meat using natural papain.  You can also wrap meat overnight in paw paw leaves to reap the benefits of papain.Use fresh pineapple.  It contains an enzyme, bromelain, that quickly tenderizes meat in 30-60 minutes.  It will add flavor to the meat, which may be good, or not.
Use a meat mallet to pound chicken, beef or pork.  It breaks fat tissue, increasing tenderness.   
Be sure to use fresh pineapple and papaya.  Canning and bottling destroys these enzymes…

High-Altitude Cooking? No Pressure!

I was kindly invited to spend Christmas Day with friends up in Ft. Collins, Colo., last December, and I offered to bring a Cheesecake made with the world's bar-none best New York-style Cheesecake recipe.  The day prior, I set aside for baking.  This was one of my first attempts at baking since moving to Colorado, and while I'm keen on improvising in cooking, I'm less likely to stray from a baking recipe.  I completely forgot that adjustments needed to be made to my favorite recipe for the change in altitude.

What do you suppose my first clue might be? 

The mellow filling in the spring-form pan rose much more than usual.  I thought nothing of it, because everybody likes a mile-high slice of Cheesecake, right?  Well, clue number two was the baking time.  The cheesecake requires a very high temperature of 500 degrees for (I believe) 90 minutes.  At 30 minutes, the top crust was already golden brown.  At 45 minutes, it was black and charred.  I removed the cheesecake at this …