Can Coffee Extend Your Life?

Leslie Hanson
July 3, 2018

A new study found that drinking coffee, even more than 8 cups a day, was linked with a lower risk of death within a 10-year follow-up period. Nearly one-third of those in the study drank two or three cups of coffee daily, and 10,000 hardcore types guzzled at least eight cups daily. People who drank six to seven cups were 16% less likely to die, and people who drank eight or more cups were about 14% less likely to die.

'These findings suggest the importance of non-caffeine constituents in the coffee-mortality association and provide further reassurance that coffee drinking can be a part of a healthy diet'.

It didn't matter whether the coffee was decaf or regular, ground or instant - all were beneficial (though the connection to lower risk of death was weaker for instant coffee).

"Further research is needed to better understand the potential biological mechanisms underlying the observed associations of coffee with various health outcomes", Dr. Loftfield acknowledged.

Drawing information from the UK's Biobank data resource, which holds information on around nine million people, researchers were also able to profile British java drinkers. "People think of caffeine, but it's likely that some of the most beneficial compounds are not the caffeine".

But for some coffee lovers, this may be the only evidence needed to enjoy more coffee.

"We know that some people metabolize caffeine quite slowly and are less tolerant of the apparent physical affects of caffeine, which of course comes from many sources other than coffee".

The results don't prove your coffee pot is a fountain of youth nor are they a reason for abstainers to start drinking coffee, said Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition expert who was not involved in the research.

But coffee drinkers in the United Kingdom study didn't have higher risks than nondrinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes.

Previous studies have found coffee drinkers have a 15 percent lower risk of death and are less likely to die from respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The protective effect was also seen among moderate and light coffee drinkers - but to a lesser degree.

And she notes that it's a rare treat when there's something that feels good and actually is good for us. "It's the non-caffeine components that might be responsible for the association", she said. But it turns out that even slow caffeine metabolizers seem to share the death-risk-reduction connected to coffee drinking.

That means, for example, if you're adding 500 calories of cream and sugar to a coffee beverage the size of a Big Gulp, you might want to keep an eye on that.

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