It's official: coffee may help you to live longer


The health benefits of coffee have long been empirically espoused by fans of the drink, a number of recent studies have confirmed that drinking three cups a day could in fact help you live longer.

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One piece of research focused on the coffee-drinking habits of almost 500,000 people from 10 countries throughout Europe. It concluded that coffee could contribute to a longer lifespan – even if the brew is decaffeinated.

What did the European study involve?

After analysing data-sets gathered from healthy people above the age of 35, experts from Imperial College London and the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that those who drink more coffee are less likely to develop diseases of the gut and heart,

At the beginning of the study, participants were asked how much coffee they drank on average. The study then looked at deaths over the course of 16 years.

Although there may be other external variables at work, if the study is taken at face value then it would mean an extra cup of coffee can extend the life of males by approximately three months, with females enjoying an increased life expectancy of one month.

Similar findings from other recent studies

A second study, undertaken by the MEC (Multiethnic Cohort) looked at the coffee-drinking habits of non-white populations. Over 185,000 Hawaiians, Japanese-Americans, African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans were surveyed, with similar findings to the European study reported.

Those who drank between two and four cups a day had an 18 per cent lower risk of death, in comparison to those who did not drink any coffee at all – findings which are consistent with previous studies that focused on majority white populations.

What does this mean for coffee drinkers?

The fact that large numbers of people from incredibly diverse populations, with different dietary habits, heath susceptibilities and social patterns all benefitted from increased coffee consumption points to the idea that the health benefits of coffee are far more than simple conjecture.

Further information from the studies also linked coffee to a decrease in liver disease, digestive issues, circulatory problems, suicide and cancer.

Ultimately, this means that coffee drinkers can enjoy their favourite drink with complete peace of mind, knowing that a cup or two extra a day can actually benefit their physical and mental wellbeing.

Other health benefits of coffee

If you didn’t already have enough reasons to enjoy another cup of coffee, the good news is that a “mug of joe” has also been linked with the following health benefits:

• Anti-inflammatory properties

Coffee is quite a chemically complex compound. It is an anti-inflammatory agent which can help combat everything from arthritis to Parkinson’s disease, as well as contributing to glucose control – which helps to prevent diabetes. Coffee also protects against neural inflammation, meaning it could possibly contribute to the prevention of illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis.

In men, coffee consumption has been linked with a decreased risk of developing gout. Men with meat-heavy or dairy-heavy diets should consider drinking coffee in order to reduce the possibility of painful swelling in the joints associated with gout.

• Strong DNA

A previous study from the European Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that the DNA of regular coffee drinkers has stronger integrity, with reduced instances of spontaneous breakage of DNA strands, protecting against degenerative diseases.

• Prevention of retinal damage

Research undertaken by Cornell University found that coffee consumption may prevent damage to the retina due to oxidative stress, as chlorogenic acid which is found in coffee beans has strong antioxidant properties.

• Protection against gum disease

A study spanning thirty years (1968-1998) by the US Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that coffee could potentially protect against periodontal disease.

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