Fresh grounds for coffee: It may boost longer life

Pearl Mccarthy
July 5, 2018

Your habit of guzzling coffee throughout the day could be the secret to a longer life. Even more impressively, it generally holds true for all coffee drinkers including slow caffeine metabolizers and decaffeinated coffee drinkers. So if you drank that coffee, you had a slightly lower chance of dying during the 10 years the study examined.

The second main way in which the study builds upon past research is that it took into account mortality incidence with respect to genetic differences in participants' metabolizing of caffeine.

Alice Lichenstein, a Tufts University nutrition researcher not linked to the study agrees, saying coffee has had negative health connotations which partially come from early literature suggesting coffee is not healthy for people.

After 10 years of the study, results showed that non-coffee drinkers were more likely to have died than those who didn't drink coffee.

"It's hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us".

In addition, the caffeine in coffee may have bad health consequences for some people, she said.

Conducted over a decade, the study found that coffee drinkers lived longer on average than those who abstained - whether they drank instant, ground, or decaf.

It is not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity. Have a glass or two of water, preferably warm, and reach for any of these.

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It might reduce inflammation in the body, improve how insulin gets used, it might help liver function and it might benefit the linings of the blood vessels.

Ms Loftfield said efforts to explain the potential longevity benefit are continuing.

Adam Taylor, fetching two iced coffees for friends Monday in downtown Chicago, said the study results make sense. "But if they don't drink coffee, these findings don't say to start drinking it", Loftfield said. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general United Kingdom population, the researchers said.

Participants filled out questionnaires about daily coffee consumption, exercise and other habits, and received physical exams including blood tests.

However, people are normally advised to drink no more than four cups of coffee a day - about 400mg.

The study notes that the results did not vary significantly by factors including age group, sex, and previous history heart disease or cancer.

The study also found that it did not matter what kind of coffee people drank, and how much. Researchers noticed an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of death, regardless of whether individuals metabolized it quickly or slowly. But the existing literature, including meta-analyses aggregating dozens of coffee studies involving millions of people, do show some notable associations between people who report drinking more coffee and protective effects against cardiovascular disease (the number one killer of Americans) like heart disease and stroke.

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