Nutrition News: Better Coffee Habits, Fatty Food's Effect on Sleep, and the Health Perks of Curcumin

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Getting the most out of your cuppa joe

Coffee — it not only wakes us up and elevates our mood, but, research suggests, may also protect us against dementia and boost our memory and metabolism. However, Fox News warns, we may be unintentionally undercutting some of coffee’s benefits.

The site lists eight caffeine-consumption mistakes to avoid, including buying coffee preground and storing it in its original bag, which increase the level of free radicals, using up the health-promoting antioxidants, as well as drinking it too early, drinking too much, overdoing it with the sugar and drinking the wrong roast.

Also, if you’re the sort of person who lets your coffee sit there forever, which increases its acidity, you may be upping your risk of heartburn and indigestion. Plus, if you drink your cuppa joe within 20 minutes of brewing — when, let’s face it, it tastes best anyway — you maximize the antioxidant benefits as well.

I cannot brain today. I has the bumb

Fatty foods and sleep

Indulging in a diet filled with fatty foods may make you sleepier during the day, according to a new study published in the journal Nutrients. Researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, found that men in the highest 25 percent for fat intake were 78 percent more likely to experience daytime sleepiness and nearly three times as likely to suffer from sleep apnea as those in the lowest 25 percent.

“Extremely high fat intake is not good for sleep,” the study’s lead author, Yingting Cao, told The New York Times. “So the key message here is to eat healthy.”

Fresh turmeric

Spotlight on curcumin

Does research back up claims that curcumin aids digestion and reduces inflammation? The New York Times’ Well blog recently tackled that question, and reports that, while the compound behind turmeric’s bright orangey-yellow hue has been shown to have “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties in lab and animal studies,” it would be “premature” to claim that it has the same effects on humans because a) there haven’t been that many human clinical trials and b) curcumin has “very poor bioavailability,” according to Barbara Delage, of the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center (meaning that because curcumin doesn’t stay in the human body for long, not much of it is absorbed).

While scientists are currently working to develop more easily absorbed versions of the plant compound, the Times notes that those “will need to be tested for safety and effectiveness.”

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.