Go ahead, pour yourself another cup of coffee – it’s even better for you than you thought. This welcomed news is from a new observational study from Spain presented at the ESC Congress which found drinking four cups of this apparent health elixir every day can extend longevity suggesting coffee can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.
Study analyzing coffee and risk of mortality
The research followed almost 20,000 participants with an average age of 37.7 years who were part of the SUN Project, a long-term prospective cohort study which started in 1999. The study’s purpose was to examine the association between coffee consumption and the risk of mortality in a middle-aged Mediterranean cohort. Each participant who entered the study completed a food frequency questionnaire which asked about coffee consumption, lifestyle, and sociodemographic characteristics, anthropometric measurements, and previous health conditions.
All participants were followed for 10 years in which during that time period, 337 subjects died. What the researchers found was participants who consumed at least four cups of coffee daily had a 64% lower risk of all-cause mortality then those who never or almost never consumed coffee. Also found was a 22% lower risk of all-cause mortality for each two additional cups of coffee per day.
More than 400 billion cups of coffee each year are consumed worldwide with Americans doing their part by drinking, on average, two cups every day. One aspect that was not brought out in the study was whether the coffee consumed was caffeinated or decaffeinated. Instead, researchers only focused on the total consumption of coffee each day.
Coffee’s health power
Why would coffee have such a beneficial effect on reducing risk of death? Part of the reason could be that coffee is brimming with antioxidants. Plants make antioxidants to protect their cells from premature destruction from exposure to light, heat, air, moisture, and time. In the human body, these same antioxidants help to protect our cells as well. Basically, antioxidants inhibit the “rusting” of our cells. Just like metals rust due to exposure to oxygen, our cells also become damaged by exposure to certain compounds caused by environmental toxins, smoking, poor eating habits, metabolism, exercise, and other factors. This oxidative damage has been associated with developing diabetes, arthritis, cancer, degenerative brain disorders and other aspects of aging.
4 ways coffee improves health
Coffee’s proven track record of percolating up other exalted health benefits have been shown in numerous studies:
1. May reduce type 2 diabetes – By just drinking one additional cup of coffee a day may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 11%, so says a Harvard University study. And don’t start cutting down on coffee consumption as those who reduced their intake by one cup a day, actually increased their risk by 17%, according to Healthline.
2. May slow down aging – None of us look forward to aging so coffee may be your newest beauty drink. This is according to researchers at Stanford University which found a link between caffeine consumption and aging. People, who regularly consumed caffeine like what is found in coffee, had less inflammation which is associated with aging and cardiovascular disease in the elderly.
3. May reduce liver cancer – The most common form of liver cancer – hepaptocellular cancer or HCC – looks to be substantially reduced by drinking coffee, either regular or decaf. Researchers at two UK universities found one cup of coffee each day lowered the risk of HCC by 20%, two cups by 35%, and five cups by 50%.
4. May reduce Alzheimer’s disease – A study at Old Dominion University in Virginia found that coffee can reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50% which globally, upwards of 30 million people are afflicted with. Specifically what coffee is doing is reducing beta amyloid, a protein often found in brains of people diagnosed with this devastating disease.
Just like there are recommendations on drinking alcohol, there are some recommendations on consuming coffee. First, black is best. Refrain from loading in the extras of sugar or heavy cream. Try instead just a splash of milk and use no more than one teaspoon of sugar to lightly satisfy your sweet tooth.
For some people, four cups of coffee may prove to be a little too much of a good thing, especially if you have hypertension or problems of it increasing your heart rate. Others may have noticeable effects from coffee of becoming jittery or troubling concentrating.
Not everyone likes coffee but they need not despair. There are many other things one can do to boost overall health and well-being such as eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and reducing stress. When you live your life in a healthy way, good health will almost always follow.