Coffee Linked to Lower Risk of Death
Research has provided evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet, and potentially decrease risk of death.
A new study suggests that drinking six cups of coffee a day could decrease the risk of early death by up to 16%. The benefits do not appear to be affected by the type of coffee or how quickly the person metabolises caffeine.
Several studies have suggested that moderate coffee drinking is linked to a lower risk of death. This study, led by a team of researchers from the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland, aimed to further investigate this link and determine whether it is influenced by caffeine metabolism and drinking more than five cups per day.
The researchers used UK Biobank data from nearly half a million people with an average age of 57 years, recruited between 2006 and 2010.
Participants completed health questionnaires, underwent physical examinations and provided biological samples, including genetic samples to enable variations in caffeine metabolism to be analysed. They also answered questions about their coffee consumption, smoking and drinking habits.
During the 10-year follow-up period, around 14,200 study participants died and the researchers looked for any association between drinking coffee and risk of death.
They found life-lengthening benefits associated with all levels and types of coffee consumption. The risk of dying was reduced by 6% in people who drank less than one cup a day, increasing to a maximum reduction of 16% in those drinking six to seven cups, before dipping slightly to 14% for those having eight or more cups.
Results were similar whether the coffee was instant or ground. Contrary to previous research, the speed at which a person metabolised caffeine did not appear to influence the observed benefits.
The study results were published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Dr Erikka Loftfield, Lead Investigator, said: “Coffee drinking was inversely associated with mortality, including among those drinking eight or more cups per day and those with genetic variations indicating slower or faster caffeine metabolism. Our study provides further evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers.”
Although further research is needed to understand the underlying biological processes, these interesting findings are an important addition to the growing body of evidence on the health benefits of drinking coffee.
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