Can Drinking Coffee Extend Your Life?

I don’t know about you but every time a new food study comes around that tells us too many bacon butties are bad for us or blackberries are the new super foods, I get a tad weary. I mean, shouldn’t’ t it be everything in moderation at the end of the day and if we use our common sense and eat a healthy diet, we’ll live to the age we ought do? And what about the contradictory studies that state one thing one day, such as too much caffeine is bad for you, and then the opposite the next day as this new study does? Apparently, researchers from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Maryland are saying that drinking coffee could extend your life. They followed 400,000 people and studied their dietary habits, including caffeine intake and found that those who drank more coffee had less ailments. The group of people were aged between 50 and 71 and were categorised into how much coffee they drank at the start of the study.

Groups included non drinkers and those who drank up to 6 cups a days and more. During the study there were 52,000 deaths from different illnesses with an ‘inverse association’ between coffee consumption and death. What this actually means is that the people who drank more coffee had a less chance of dying than those who drank less amounts. Another interesting finding about this research is that around a third of those who were drinking coffee were consuming decaffeinated coffee and the research found the same results for this group, in that, they also benefited from drinking larger amounts. The study found that the more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to die from a number of different ailments. These include heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries, accidents, diabetes and infections, but not cancer. And although the researchers could not say for definite if coffee was the exact cause of the lowered risk of death, there was a definite link between increased coffee consumption. The study was a relatively large one as it followed 229,000 men and 173,000 women, all of whom took part in a diet and health study between the 1995 and 2008.

Whilst the experts do not have the exact reasons for the beneficial health associations of drinking more coffee, it is thought that the ingredients which make up the caffeine could have a direct effect. There are antioxidants and magnesium contained in coffee that have direct biological effects on our bodies that may help in some way to protect us against certain illnesses. The executive director of the British Coffee Association, Dr Euan Paul, commented, “This important research adds to the overwhelming weight of evidence which demonstrates that moderate coffee consumption of 4-5 cups of coffee per day is safe and may be associated with certain health benefits. Whilst more research is required to determine whether the inverse association seen in this study is causal, these results are particularly encouraging because they build on previous research which has also suggested an inverse association between coffee consumption and total and cause-specific mortality. Pregnant women should continue to moderate their caffeine intake to 200mg per day in line with NHS guidelines.”

Well, as I said, I don’t about you but I’m off for a latte.

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