Can coffee help extend your life?
Drinking coffee may play a role in helping us to live longer, according to new research from the US.
A ‘moderate’ amount of coffee – 3 to 5 cups a day – reduces the risk of heart disease, Parkinson’s and diabetes, scientists from the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health claim.
Meanwhile, coffee drinking was also linked to lower suicide rates, although no evidence pointed to changes in cancer risk.
Decaf works as well
It isn’t the caffeine in the drink that causes these effects, the research team says, with decaf coffee performing just as well.
The team suggests there are other plant compounds at work.
Lead scientist Ming Ding says bioactive compounds found in coffee can reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation.
He believes this could explain some of the findings, but says more studies are needed into the biological mechanisms at work.
The team brought together data from 3 studies covering over 200,000 participants.
They analysed the results of food questionnaires taken every 4 years over a 30-year period.
As well as coffee drinking levels, the team also took into account other factors like smoking, BMI, physical activity, alcohol and diet.
Co-author Professor Frank Hu believes the results show drinking coffee could offer a number of health benefits.
Healthy lifestyle still best
Emily Reeve, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, says it’s important to remember that coffee is not a cure for heart disease and that the best prevention is maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
She is calling for more research into exactly what it is in coffee that could be affecting people’s risk of heart attack or stroke.
The results were published in the journal Circulation.