Fresh grounds for coffee: Study shows it may boost longevity

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"We found that people who drank two to three cups per day had about a 12 percent lower risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers", Erikka Loftfield, a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute, tells NPR. But because the current study was observational, meaning it looked only at patterns in an existing dataset, it's impossible to say what is - or even if coffee is truly responsible for keeping death at bay, or just associated with a longer life. That number rises to 16 percent for those who drank six to seven cups, before jumping down to 14 percent for those consuming eight or more.

A new study shows that people who drink coffee, even those who drink eight or more cups a day, are less likely to die early than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee drinking was inversely associated with all-cause mortality, that is more coffee a person drank less were the risks of that person dying.

Another large study of 500,000 people in Europe showed similar results to the recent United Kingdom research: men who drank three cups of coffee per day were 12% less likely to die over a 16-year period than coffee abstainers, and women who drank that much coffee were 7% less likely to die.

No doubt more coffee studies will be along in the very near future.

Also backing up this study's claims are previous studies - like the 2017 research covering more than 700,000 people that also found a link between coffee and a longer life. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolisers had a longevity boost.

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That means, for example, if you're adding 500 calories of cream and sugar to a coffee beverage the size of a Big Gulp, you might want to keep an eye on that.

Among the most striking findings in the study: It didn't matter whether you drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, and it didn't matter whether you drank instant or brewed coffee.

"But", she added, "I would also suggest if someone doesn't enjoy coffee, the data are not strong enough that they should start drinking coffee". It covered almost half a million people, for a start, which is definitely to its credit.

"Further research is needed to better understand the potential biological mechanisms underlying the observed associations of coffee with various health outcomes", Dr. Loftfield acknowledged. A 2014 study found that there was zero evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake. "Like so many plant foods", she said, "the coffee bean is brimming with polyphenols that, research suggests, confer health benefits, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes and antihypertensive properties".

"We know that some people metabolize caffeine quite slowly and are less tolerant of the apparent physical affects of caffeine, which of course comes from many sources other than coffee".

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