Researchers, in two new studies, found that daily coffee drinkers were up to 18% less likely to die over the next 10 to 16 years, versus non-drinkers.
The findings – based on over 700,000 middle-aged and older adults – add to the growing list of benefits linked to moderate coffee drinking.
Studies have already tied the habit to lower risks of various diseases – from heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to liver cancer, to neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. None of those studies prove coffee, per se, provides the benefit.
This runs counter to the common belief that coffee drinking is a bad habit – a belief the evidence does not bear out, according to Veronica Setiawan, the senior researcher on one of the studies.
“Moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle,” said Setiawan. She’s an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
Both studies were published online in the July 11 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Still, neither study proved that coffee can extend a person’s life, according to an editorial published with the findings. “We are not in a position to recommend people drink coffee for health benefits,” said Dr. Eliseo Guallar, one of the editorial’s authors.
There are also potential downsides to coffee, noted Guallar, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He said that drinking more than 400 mg of caffeine a day – equivalent to four to five cups of coffee – can cause symptoms such as dizziness and a spike in heart rate. And some people, such as pregnant women and teenagers, should have stricter limits.
If coffee does help ward off certain health problems, it’s not clear why. It contains a mix of antioxidants, Setiawan noted, but no one knows if they deserve the credit. It’s not clear if caffeine has a role, either. In the first study, people who drank decaf also had a lower death risk, Setiawan said.
I enjoy a cup of organic coffee every morning. Organic coffee doesn’t seem to give me the side effects that either decaf or regular coffee can produce. I wonder if some of those negative effects aren’t from the chemicals used in growing and processing modern coffee.
For me, it’s the ritual. My wife and I will spend a few minutes each morning drinking a cup of coffee and talking about the upcoming day. Weather permitting, we sit on the front porch (or the fly bridge on the boat) and watch the sun rise. If we are traveling, we’ll find a little café to have a cup of joe.
The Bottom Line:
If you like to drink a cup of coffee every day, don’t worry about any negative health effects. Relax and enjoy this remarkable herb provided by nature. Like anything else, moderation is the key.
Source: July 10, 2017 National Institutes of Health