Admit it -- we're all pretty lazy about taking care of our health. So it's no wonder that every few weeks it seems another study comes along to reassure us that habits we don't even consciously register anymore -- like drinking coffee or tea on a daily basis -- are what will actually SAVE us from death, disease, mayhem, etc. This time, researchers would have us believe that our favorite caffeinated beverages are keeping us safe from the superbug MRSA.
Although what the research really found was that tea and coffee drinkers were half as likely to have methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus in their nostrils. (Mmmm, MRSA in your NASAL CAVITY. Bet you're extra psyched to bite into that Danish now!) But here's why the research is to be taken with a grain of salt: Only about 1.4 percent of the population carries the superbug in their nose anyway.
It seems the researchers were simply out to prove ... yet again ... that coffee and tea have "antimicrobial properties" against different forms of bacteria. And tea and tea-based products have shown promise in treating MRSA infections. Yay.
Sure, I'm all about using food as medicine and things found in nature to cure ourselves or guard against disease. But this sounds more like a gimmick than useful advice. Are we really supposed to up our coffee or tea intake to stave off bacterial infections? No. This is just news meant to make us feel better about our crappy health habits. It's a pat on the head. "It's okay that you suck down four Starbucks red-eyes a day!! You're keeping antibiotic-resistant bacteria at bay! Woo. Hoo."
It's annoying too, because it perpetuates this idea that we can bolster our health with caffeinated beverages, which may or may not be detrimental to our health in other ways. And it's not like we can't get antimicrobial properties out of other foods or drinks. Manuka honey has also been found to curb MRSA. And that stuff surely doesn't cause insomnia or trigger irritability.
Hey, I'm just as much a Frappuccino fan as anyone else. But I refuse to buy that coffee -- or anything for that matter -- is a quick fix, a miracle cure, the one-stop shop for all that ails ya.
What do you think about this study?
Image via Ballistik Coffee Boy/Flickr