Studies Show Coffee Drinkers Live Longer
By Chef K.T. Murphy
News flash: It is now known well that coffee is a super beverage that is extremely beneficial to health. It is not merely a flavorful drink. It is fortified with tons of natural nutrients and antioxidants, and it has been shown to have positive effects on many aspects of your wellbeing.
Of course all these claims mean nothing unless they have been confirmed in actual scientific studies. That is where things get interesting. Recently, numerous studies have demonstrated the life-extending effects of coffee. Some of them have been summarized below.
A Study Published by The New England Journal Of Medicine in 2012
This study was conducted by Freedman ND, et al. and was aptly named “ Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality.” The study consisted of 402,260 individuals ranging in age from 50-70 and analyzed the relationship between coffee consumption and longevity. The study ran for a period of 12-13 years and yielded fascinating results. There is a strong correlation between the amount of coffee drank by the participants and their mortality rate.
The study analyzed individuals according to how much coffee they drank daily: no coffee, one cup, two to three cups, four to five cups, or six and more cups. There was a corresponding decrease in mortality rate as the number of cups of coffee consumed increased–at least up to the sweet spot of four to five cups daily.
The group consuming six or more cups per day still experienced measurable decreases to their mortality rate, but their rate was slightly lower than the group that drank four to five cups a day. The results are summarized in the graph below:
As can be seen, even consuming a minimum of one cup of coffee per day was enough to reduce the risk of death by about 5%. This translates to a possible benefit for millions of people who consume at least one cup of coffee per day.
Also, it is likely that the benefits observed from coffee consumption were not attributed to caffeine, since the benefits were experienced regardless of whether the participants drank regular or decaf.
Numerous studies on the benefits of coffee consumption have looked at cause-specific factors that can increase the mortality risk, such as the following:
- Reduced Diabetes Risk- Coffee is able to reduce the likelihood of you developing type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases- Neurodegenerative diseases affect the brain, causing progressive loss of cognitive function. They can lead to premature death. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are included in this category. Luckily, coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of developing these conditions.
- Reduces Risk of Depression by 20% and Suicide by 53%- Depression is a major public health concern, mainly because it is not very visible and is hard to diagnose unless the individual is willing and receptive to counseling and medication. Coffee, however, has been documented to reduce the risk of depression by 20%. It also dramatically reduces the risk of suicide, thanks to its ability to stimulate the release of endorphins, the feel good chemicals that modulate mood.
One important thing to note is the fact that these findings were based on observations. That means that it is not 100% certain that coffee WILL reduce any individual’s risk of death. But the studies certainly help to confirm the fact that coffee is not bad for you. Participants were observed to have a reduced risk of death, whether it was regular or decaffeinated coffee they drank. This is good news for a society that fears caffeine on one hand, while still consuming loads of coffee beverages on the other.
One last bit of advice: Try not to load a healthy beverage with sugar and sweeteners, since the potential benefits of coffee may be offset when a boatload of health-sapping fillers are added in.
All the best, Good Food makes for Better Decisions.