People who drink the most coffee are less likely to die than those who drink the least or none, according to two new studies that followed nearly three quarters of a million people for about 16 years.
The results don't necessarily mean coffee directly prevents people from dying, but researchers suggest they should at least reassure people who can't get by without their daily cup to two of coffee.
Previous research from the United States and Japan found a reduced risk of death among coffee drinkers, but little was known about whether such a link also existed in Europe, where coffee-drinking habits vary between countries.
People in Denmark drink larger quantities of coffee than Italians who drink smaller and stronger drinks like espresso, for example.
For one of the new studies, the researchers examined data collected over about 16 years from 521,330 people living in 10 European countries. There were 41,693 deaths over the study period.
Coffee drinking linked to greater life expectancy in men and women
Men who reported drinking the most coffee were about 12 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period, compared to men who didn't drink coffee. Similarly, women who drank the most coffee were about 7 percent less likely to die during that time than women who didn't drink any.
Despite the people being so different from country to country, the researchers saw a consistent relationship.
Coffee was tied to a lower risk of dying from digestive diseases among both men and women, along with a decreased risk of death from circulatory and cerebrovascular diseases among women. Women with the biggest coffee habit, however, had an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer.
A second study also looked at coffee consumption among Americans. The researchers analyzed data on 185,855 people aged 45 to 75 years who were African American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese American, Latino or white.
Over roughly 16 years of follow up, 58,397 people died.
Protective compound in coffee unclear
Compared to people who drank no coffee, those who drank one cup per day were 12 percent less likely to die during follow up. People who drank two or more cups per day were 18 percent less likely to die.
More research is needed to determine what it is in coffee that might be responsible. While caffeine is the most studied compound in coffee, studies have found decaffeinated protective, too.
It’s also possible that coffee drinkers don’t drink caloric beverages with a like fruit juice and soft drinks. Of course, that only applies if people don’t add a lot of cream and sugar.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, online July 10, 2017.
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