Benefits of coffee: reduced risk of death


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Researchers from two studies claim that high coffee consumption can lower your risk of death, regardless of your ethnicity. However, it is not a panacea for health.

Your morning cup of coffee could – literally – save your life.

That’s according to two new studies that link higher coffee consumption to a lower risk of death.

The first study, published today in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that those who drink the most coffee – compared to those who skip java – have a lower risk of death.

The study used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, which includes information from more than 520,000 men and women in 10 European countries.

Researchers who produced the second study, which was also published today in the same journal, noted that higher coffee consumption was associated with a reduced risk of death in white and non-white populations.

Previously, there had been limited data on how coffee affected non-white populations. The data used in the research came from a cohort of more than 185,000 Japanese-Americans, African-Americans, Latinos and Whites.

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Whether you drink decaffeinated, regular, or a mixture of the two, you get the same benefits.

About 75 percent of American adults drink coffee. About 50 percent consume it daily.

Coffee contains bioactive compounds and polyphenols which have antioxidant properties.

Coffee is also linked to reduced insulin resistance, inflammation, and biomarkers of liver function. Of course, what we add to it can have unhealthy effects. (Cream and sugar, how do you like it?)

“Coffee is not a panacea, but it is only part of a healthy plant-based diet,” explained Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of “Plant-Powered for Life”.

“You don’t have to feel guilty about your coffee obsession. However, the addition of copious amounts of creams, syrups and sugars quickly turns a healthy drink into decadent madness, ”she told Healthline.

How much java should you drink to get the most health benefits?

People who drank three or more cups of coffee per day seemed to benefit the most from the reduced risk of death. Scientists found this to be especially true for diseases of the digestive tract and circulatory system.

Neil Murphy, PhD, one of the European study researchers and World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist, touted his research as it provides insight into the effects of coffee on the health of European populations.

On the other hand, people shouldn’t assume that drinking coffee means you will be healthier, as high coffee consumption is linked to negative health behaviors such as smoking.

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In an accompanying editorial, researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University wrote that it would be premature to recommend coffee consumption to reduce the risk of death.

However, they said, three to five cups a day, or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine, are not linked to any side effects.

Despite the positive results, Murphy told Healthline that the researchers didn’t want to recommend that people drink more or less coffee.

His research also did not examine to what extent the amount of coffee could be linked to adverse health consequences.

“Our results suggest that moderate coffee consumption [up to about three cups per day] is not harmful to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have beneficial health effects, ”he said.

Palmer said more recent research on coffee has shown benefits of around three to six cups per day.

The benefits include reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, prostate and liver cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

“It is generally recommended to limit coffee consumption to no more than six cups per day to control caffeine consumption,” she explained.

Caffeine can have negative effects such as headache, insomnia, restlessness, gastrointestinal upset, etc.

“It’s important to know your limits,” she said.

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About Jeffery L. Parker

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