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The wonderful beans

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

A while ago in his Culinate column, Matthew Amster-Burton wondered whether Starbucks was good or evil. Business ethics aside, a number of researchers seem to believe that Starbucks and its competitors are good — because the product coffee shops push, it turns out, may be good for your health. Here are the latest studies showing why.

Pregnant women aren't supposed to drink caffeinated beverages, right? Maybe wrong. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have found that drinking moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy doesn’t correlate to a greater risk of premature births or underweight babies. 

Then there's the Italian version of the French paradox (eat a high-fat diet, drink wine, have a healthy heart): Coffee might lower the risk of liver cancer. Researchers in Naples have discovered that coffee-loving Italians who drank at least 28 cups of coffee a week had a 60 percent lower risk of liver cancer than those who drank less than 14 cups weekly. 

Okay, so that's still a whopping four cups of coffee a day. (Buzz, buzz!) But only coffee — not tea, and definitely not decaf java — will do the trick, apparently.

The Italian researchers also found that coffee abstainers had double the risk of the cancer, compared to those who drank less than 14 cups a week. 

Caffeine. It does a body good. 

Let's see how long it takes before Starbucks jumps on the healthwagon.