Regular coffee drinking associated with a lower risk of death, research finds

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17th November 2015 15:44 - FMCG

According to a new study, individuals who consume coffee every day – even up to four cups – are less likely to die of a neurological disease, Regular coffee drinking associated with a lower risk of death, research findsheart disease, type 2 diabetes or suicide than non-coffee drinkers.

The researchers did not examine how increasing coffee consumption would change one’s health outlook, so it cannot be said that coffee directly “causes” a decreased chance of death. Instead, the researchers assessed death patterns in groups of people with a varying consumption of coffee.

Senior author of the report, Dr. Frank Hu, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, told Reuters Health:

"The main takeaway is that regular consumption of coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet,"

"There is no evidence of harm of regular consumption in terms of chronic disease risk or mortality, and consistent evidence that consumption of coffee reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease,"

"People who are already drinking it should continue to enjoy it, but for people who don't drink it or don't like it, there's no particular reason to start for the sole reason of health."

The researchers explored the association between coffee intake and the risk of death, based on self-reported coffee habits of more than 160,000 females in the Nurses' Health Study and Nurses' Health Study 2 and 40,000 men in the Health Professionals follow-up study.

In the 3 studies – the Nurses' Health Study, Nurses' Health Study 2 and the Health Professionals follow-up study – participants filled out questionnaires about their lifestyle every four years. They were surveyed on several factors, including how often they drink decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee.

The researchers had access to data on the participants from the 1980’s through to 2012. Within that time frame, 19,524 females and 12,432 males passed away.

It was found that the participants who drank between one and five cups of coffee a day were less likely to have died during the follow-up than the participants who did not consume coffee.

Amongst the moderate coffee consumers, deaths from heart disease, suicide and neurological diseases were less common than others. However, the researchers did not find a correlation between coffee and deaths from cancer.

Hu said that "the benefit in terms of mortality is very small," and plateaued at four to five cups a day.

Hu acknowledged that caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have similar effects for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, indicating that the health benefits may be as a result of compounds of the coffee, other than caffeine.

"Coffee of course is a complex beverage, it's really difficult or impossible to pinpoint the ingredients that are responsible," Hu claimed.

Hu added that for depression, suicide and neurodegenerative disease, the benefits are most likely to be within the caffeine.

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