It’s a question as old as time… or at least coffee.
Is coffee good for you? Studies seem to go back and forth with the answer to this question. One week, a paper may report the incredible effects the antioxidants contained in coffee have on your health, while the next week a different article will go off on the adverse effects of caffeine.
Two new study’s based on meta-analysis, one by Dr. Veronica Setiawan and her colleagues and the other by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, of over 700,000 adults has drawn correlations between moderate, regular coffee consumption and longevity. Previous studies have shown the possible link between regular coffee consumption and lower risks for certain diseases like diabetes, liver cancer, Parkinson’s, and heart disease, but these are the first extensive study’s focusing on the long-term mortality rate of coffee drinkers.
Making both of these findings different from others reporting on the possible health effects, besides the sheer size of the data pulled, is that the information is compiled of people from all races, not just predominantly white people as with most other studies. This large scope is integral to the findings, as the possible correlation between coffee consumption and a longer life, regardless of variances from race and lifestyles, reinforces the link between the two. “This study is the largest of its kind and includes minorities who have very different lifestyles,” said Dr. Setiawan. “Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American, Latino or Asian.”
What do the studies on coffee say?
The first study Dr. Setiawan pulled data from consisted of 186, 000 middle-aged and older American men and women, and were of all races. This study, starting in the 1990s, had people report on their diet, habits, and lifestyle, including whether they drank coffee and, if so, how much. The study showed that, over the following decade, more than 58, 000 participants would die. Those who were reportedly regular coffee drinkers, however, were significantly less likely to be on the list of participants who had died. Dr. Setiawan and her colleagues report that, based on their findings, people who consume coffee on a consistent basis are up to 18 percent less likely to die in the next 10 to 16 years when compared to those who do not drink coffee.
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While Dr. Setiawan’s research didn’t go into the specific nutritional or biological mechanisms for this possible connection, she did offer some personal insights. “Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention. Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.”
Not only is coffee good for you, but it may increases life span!
A second study performed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer used data from 521 330 people enrolled in EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition). During a follow-up after 16 years, 41, 693 people had died. However, those who drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day were 7 to 12 percent less likely to have died. Equally interesting, coffee drinkers showed a 40 to 60 percent lower risk of mortality related to disorders like liver cancer or kidney disease. The researchers were not overly surprised, stating that previous studies have linked coffee consumption with better liver function and lower levels of biomarkers for additional diseases.
What do the two study’s tell us? It’s tough to say as even the researchers themselves will admit. While there is no precise mechanism yet as to why coffee consumption may extend lifespan regardless of other lifestyle habits, it’s becoming more evident that coffee’s benefits likely outweigh any adverse effects.
Conclusion: So, is coffee good for you? Can we finally put the question to rest?
One thing I would like to mention, there was a study released in 2005 that, in my opinion, shined a light on the sheer deficit most Americans are running when it comes to diet. The study showed that Americans get the majority of the antioxidants in their diet from Coffee. Diets rich in antioxidants have been linked to decreased instances of disease and mortality, much the same as these new studies on coffee drinking have shown. Fruits and vegetables, which contain incredibly high amounts of antioxidants, along with other essential vitamins and minerals, should take the number one spot. The possible link between coffee consumption and longer lifespan could be replaced, or at least bolstered, with an increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
As always, thank you so much for taking your time to read this article. If you got something from it, or you know someone who would benefit from this article, please feel free to share.
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About the author
I switched careers from a mechanic to a personal trainer and life coach after seeing the difference one made in the life of my mother. I watched as she transformed herself, changing her path in life to one that allowed for the enjoyment of what she loves most. Our family saw how powerful an impact her trainer had on her health and happiness, and we couldn't have been more grateful. From then on, I knew I wanted to help others take back their lives the same way her trainer had helped her.
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