Another good piece of news for coffee drinkers – a new study suggests people who consume coffee may live longer than those who do not.
A study of half a million adults in England, Scotland and Wales found that drinking as many as eight cups of coffee a day was linked to a lower risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers. The findings were published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.
The research used data spanning a decade and included participants between the ages of 38 and 73 years. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) collected data from participants in the UK Biobank study. In addition to giving blood, the participants answered detailed questions about their health and lifestyle, including smoking and drinking habits, coffee consumption, medical history and other information.
Of the approximately 500,000 people involved, around 14,200 died in the ten-year follow-up period.
Coffee drinkers who consumed between one and eight cups of coffee per day were found to have a 10-15% lower risk of dying during this time. This was true for all coffee drinkers, even those who metabolise caffeine slowly and are therefore more sensitive to the effects, as well as those who chose decaffeinated coffee. The trend also held true regardless of whether a person chose instant, ground or decaffeinated coffee.
“The study provides further evidence that drinking coffee can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers,” the authors concluded.
Numerous other studies in recent years have linked coffee to a variety of health benefits, prompting researchers to investigate the bean more frequently, reports NPR.
“The coffee bean itself is loaded with many different nutrients and phyto-chemicals,” Walter Willett, a nutrition researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, told NPR in 2015. Willet hypothesised that the compounds are “working together to have some of these benefits.”
Coffee contains compounds including lignans, quinides and magnesium, “some of which may help reduce insulin resistance and inflammation,” according to NPR.
“Coffee, with its thousand chemicals, includes a number of polyphenol-like, antioxidant-rich compounds,” Christopher Gardner, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Centre, told NPR.
Gardner said some of coffee’s health benefits might come from the happiness it provides many people who drink it.
“Think about when you’re drinking coffee — aren’t you stopping and relaxing a little bit?” Gardner questioned. “I just love holding that hot beverage in my hand. It’s the morning ritual.”
Although drinking coffee was once considered an unhealthy habit, recent research has changed perceptions of the beverage. Gardner authored a study in 2015 showing that men and women who drink coffee have a 15% lower risk of early death than those who do not, and two years ago, the World Health Organisation removed coffee from its list of possible carcinogens.
In addition to a lower risk of death, coffee has been linked to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, melanoma, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, liver disease, prostate cancer and other health problems.