Drinking coffee tied to lower risk of death

December 21, 2015 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Drinking coffee tied to lower risk of death

In a 10-year U.S. study, people who drank coffee regularly were less likely to die of many causes, including heart disease and diabetes, than those who didn't drink coffee at all.

The more coffee study participants consumed, the lower their risk of dying, and decaf drinkers showed a similar pattern.

Many studies have found that coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of overall and heart-related mortality.

The researchers used data from a previous study on 90,317 adults without cancer or history of cardiovascular disease who were followed from 1998 through 2009. They had reported their coffee intake, along with other dietary and health details, at the start of the study.

By 2009, about 8,700 people had died. After accounting for other factors like smoking, the researchers found that coffee drinkers were less likely to have died during the study than nondrinkers.

The risk of death was lowest for those who drank four to five cups of coffee per day. A similar association was seen among drinkers of decaffeinated coffee as well.

Coffee drinkers had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, pneumonia and influenza and suicide, but not cancer.

People who consumed two to three cups of coffee per day had approximately an 18 percent lower risk death during follow-up compared to those who reported drinking no coffee. Drinking up to five cups per day, or 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, was not associated with any long-term health risks.

Moderate caffeine intake, up to 200 milligrams per day, is even safe for pregnant women, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

It’s thought that some of coffee’s benefits – caffeinated and decaffeinated – are linked to an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid. This natural compound has been shown to dampen inflammation in the body, reduce glucose (sugar) absorption and improve how the body uses insulin, the hormone that lowers blood glucose.  Coffee also contains magnesium, a mineral linked to blood sugar regulation.

This adds to an accumulating number of studies of very high quality that show that people who drink more coffee tend to have better health outcomes.

The study doesn't, however, prove that coffee extends life.

“You could argue that people who are already sick might not be drinking as much coffee,” a researcher said.

But coffee may also have a direct effect on inflammation or cardiovascular health.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, online November 27, 2015.

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