Let’s Toast to a Longer Life Thanks to Coffee!
Some health myths are hard to break no matter how much good science comes out. For example, there are still some people who think coffee may not be healthy. Granted, some people cannot tolerate the buzz or have other health issues at play that may not pair well with caffeine. But coffee is more than just it’s caffeine content. And now there’s even more mounting evidence that coffee – caffeinated or not – may lead to a longer life according to scientists.
The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published a study showing people who drank a cup of coffee a day were 12% less likely to die compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. For those who drank 2 to 3 cups a day, there was an 18% reduced chance of death. The study period ran for over 16 years. The data came from a multiethnic collaboration between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine.
Researchers studied 215,000 ethnically diverse participants to examine lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer. Of the more than 180,000 participants that were coffee drinkers, they found the drink was good for you whether you are white, African-American, Latino or Asian.
It didn’t matter whether the coffee was high octane or decaf. Mortality rates were lower for both, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, according to V. Wendy Setiawan, senior author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine.
“Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention,” Setiawan said. “Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.”
An even larger study of people from European countries found that the more coffee they drank, the lower their risk of death. The researchers followed more than 520,000 people for an average of 16.4 years. Of the people who drank 3 or more cups a day, the men were 12% less likely to die early than non-coffee drinkers. Women who were heavy coffee drinkers were 7% less likely.
A potentially longer life in general was just one of the perks of having a daily coffee habit. But researchers also found people were less likely to die from circulatory and digestive system diseases. And, it may also work as a mild anti-depressant. For men, there was even a lower risk of suicide.
Now we can add longevity to the long list of science backed benefits of drinking coffee.
Past studies have found coffee can:
- Improve cognitive function making your mind sharper and more alert.
- Improve physical performance and help you burn fat. It sure helps at the gym!
- Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Protect the liver particularly against cirrhosis.
- Improve your mood and fight depression.
- Lower the risk of certain cancers, particularly colorectal and liver cancer.
Plus it contains a nice little dose of nutrients like:
Thiamin, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Manganese, Potassium and Magnesium. It’s a small amount but since many people have more than one serving a day, it can add up.
Of course you can totally mess up the benefits by adding creamers loaded with HFCS or other added sugars though!
This good news is not a recommendation to hook up an IV drip of constant coffee into your system. If you have low iron levels, or take drugs that may interact adversely with caffeine, talk to your doctor. Or, embrace decaf. And if you’re preggers, well you know.
Don’t Get Burned
One other warning: Scalding hot coffee (or other drinks) could lead to cancer of the esophagus, so let it cool down a bit before slurping it down. Under 149 degrees Farenheit is recommended.