Not only does that delicious, steaming cup of coffee get your day started, according to a new study that appears in The New England Journal of Medicine, it might also help you live even longer as well. The research, one of the largest projects of its kind, reveals that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death from causes like stroke, diabetes, heart or respiratory disease, accidents, injuries or infections (but not cancer) than those who didn’t drink the beverage.
Even after accounting for other factors that influence early death, like smoking or drinking too much alcohol, the results still held. Coffee drinkers appear to live longer than non-drinkers.
The researchers drew over 400,000 subjects (both men and women) from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. The subjects lived in six states as well as the Detroit and Atlanta metro areas.
When the study began, the participants were from 60 to 70 years old and didn’t have heart disease, cancer and had not suffered a stroke. Anywhere between 1995 and 1996 the subjects filled out a comprehensive questionnaire on their diet and lifestyle and were then followed until they died, or until December 31, 2008, whichever was first.
Compared to nondrinkers, those who drank coffee (3 or more cups per day) had almost a 10% lower risk of dying overall, and a lower risk of dying from many of the leading killers. In fact, death from cancer was the only exception the researchers noted. Such findings are a relief to the many who enjoy coffee each day, and yet were worried that it might be doing them some harm.
This isn’t to suggest you start drinking coffee if you don’t already. Talk with your own doctor to be sure that coffee drinking is not going to be a problem for you. There is some data that show coffee drinking might bring a short-term increase in blood pressure. If you have stomach issues, coffee may also not be a smart drink choice for you.
And because the researchers here didn’t ask people to start (or stop) drinking coffee, the results don’t show cause and affect, but rather an association between coffee drinking and a lower risk of death. Maybe those who enjoy coffee have other advantages… eating better overall, exercising more, or doing other good-for-you things that weren’t addressed in the latest research.
Coffee Linked To A Lower Death Risk From Variety Of Causes… Continued…
The study also didn’t account for how the coffee was prepared, and this might impact the compounds naturally part of the beverage. It also asked about consumption only once, at the start of the research but habits may well change over time.
We know that coffee is a complex drink that contains over a thousand different compounds. Most of these have not been studied very well. The researchers on this latest study speculate that the caffeine in coffee isn’t likely to be a factor as the rates of death for decaf drinkers (a third of the coffee drinkers in the study) were about the same as those who drank regular coffee.
Other compounds, such as the antioxidants or dietary fiber that are naturally a part of coffee, might be responsible for the benefits observed in the study. More work is needed before anyone can say for sure.
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