Fresh grounds for coffee: Study shows it may boost longevity

Coffee beans in a mug

Coffee beans in a mug

She said: "In this large study of almost 500,000 people in the United Kingdom, coffee drinking was inversely associated with all-cause mortality, with statistically significant inverse associations observed in participants drinking 1 to 8 or more cups per day". "Or at least not be bad", she said. Those who consumed five or more cups a day had no higher risk than those who consumed none.

So there you have it: a habit that so many of us enjoy that is suggested, once again, to actually be good for us.

Previous research has shown similar results.

The researchers aren't exactly sure why drinking coffee might boost longevity, although lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, pointed out to The Associated Press that coffee is rich in antioxidants.

Mechanisms to explain the protective effect of coffee consumption include reduced inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, and effects on liver enzyme levels and endothelial function, according to the study.

Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas on his way to fetch two iced coffees for friends in downtown Chicago on Monday, said the study results make sense.

We're not saying you should drink a giant cup of scalding coffee after a workout instead of water or gatorade, but you can't put all the dehydration blame on your morning grande latte. "I try to have just one cup daily", he said.

The study included 498,134 non-pregnant participants who drank 1 to up to 8 cups of coffee daily. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general United Kingdom population, the researchers said. Participants answered questions about their coffee-drinking habits, health history, and smoking and drinking tendencies, among other things.

Past studies have indicated an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's and cancers of the liver, bowel, colon and endometrium.

Caffeine can cause short-term increases in blood pressure, and some smaller studies have suggested that it might be linked with high blood pressure, especially in people with a genetic variation that causes them to metabolise caffeine 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. Those who drank six to seven cups a day saw a 16 percent decrease.

He added: "Healthier coffee, free from sugar or syrup, should also be encouraged to optimize any health benefit". But Lichtenstein said loading coffee with extra fat and calories isn't healthy.

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