Coffee may not be so bad after all, in fact new research suggests that drinking coffee could add years to your life. In what could be a potential boost to the coffee industry, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has established a link between coffee consumption and lower mortality in men and women. This finding could make coffee, which is already one of the nation's favorite beverages, even more popular with consumers.
Scientific investigators, led by Neal Freedman from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Institutes of Health, looked at the relationship between coffee consumption and cause-specific mortality in American adults. To this end, they studied 229,119 men and 173,141 women who participated in the National Institutes of Health - AARP Diet and Health Study.
To be eligible for the experiment, participants had to be free of heart disease, stroke and cancer, and between the ages of 50 - 71 years at the beginning of the study. Participants also completed a questionnaire so that researchers could collect demographic and lifestyle information including dietary habits. Finally, although participants provided a self-report about the amount of coffee the data does not distinguish how the coffee was prepared i.e. expresso, ground, or boiled.
The participants were followed between 1995 and 2008 during which time Freedman's team collected valuable data regarding coffee's effect on mortality. Taken together 52,515 people died during the course of the study (33,731 men and 18,784 women) which on the outset might appear to be a bad thing. However, a closer look at the data reveals that coffee was actually associated with longevity.
More specifically, scientists discovered that men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day, lowered their mortality risk by 10 % and women who consumed that amount lowered their mortality risk by 15% compared to men and women who did not drink coffee. Moreover, coffee consumption lowered the mortality risk due to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, accidents, respiratory disease, injuries, and infections.
On the downside, coffee did little to lower the mortality risk for people with cancer.
It's also important to note that compared to non-coffee drinkers, people who drank coffee were more likely to smoke, drink large amounts of alcohol, eat lots of red meat and rarely participated in excerise - all bad habits which are associated with higher cancer mortality.
Why Is Coffee Good For You?
Incidentally, this isn't the first time that scientists have provided evidence about the benefits of drinking coffee. Last January, we posted an article about Chinese researchers who discovered that caffiene metabolites had a positive effect on type 2 diabetes by inhibiting a crucial protein associated with the disease.
With regards to the NIH - AARP Diet and Health Study, both caffeinated and decaf coffee drinkers benefitted from coffee consumption. So, where could the benefit be coming from? Freedman and his colleagues noted that coffee consists of "1000 compounds that might affect the risk of death" thereby suggesting that ingredients other than coffee might also be of significance.
As for coffee's potential effect on mortality, Freedman and his colleagues reached this conclusion: "Our results provide reassurance with respect to the concern that coffee drinking might adversely affect health."
So, does this mean that coffee is good for you? You'll have to make that decision for yourself.
Freedman's results show that coffee benefited people who didn't smoke or were former smokers compared to people who currently smoke.
Therefore, a reasonable interpretation of the data would be that if you're relatively healthy i.e. not engaging in bad habits, coffee could add some years to your life.
22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Galatians 3:22
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Freedman, N., Park, Y., Abnet, C., Hollenbeck, A., & Sinha, R. (2012). Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality New England Journal of Medicine, 366 (20), 1891-1904 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1112010
"Coffee Might Add Years To Your Life" copyright © 2012 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.