Livin’ la vida mocha: Coffee has life lengthening properties, study suggests

Having a morning cup of java - and another and another - might prolong your life, a new study suggests.

"Participants drinking four or more cups per day, compared with those drinking less coffee and nondrinkers, were more likely to drink instant coffee and be current smokers, whereas participants drinking one to three cups per day were older, more likely to have a university degree, and more likely to report "excellent" health".

The study of almost half-a-million British adults, published yesterday in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, showed that coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

They found non-coffee drinkers were more likely to have died than those that drunk coffee. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal.

It's another piece of good news for coffee lovers, and it gets even better. "I just know that it has a bad rap", Mr Gardiner said.

Next, the study team may delve into how the drink was prepared, to see if the choice of unfiltered coffee and filtered coffee can affect health.

While the exact reason why coffee may boost your life longevity remains unclear, researchers say the results reinforce previous studies.

Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage.

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.

Ms Loftfield said efforts to explain the potential longevity benefit are continuing.

For the study, researchers invited nine million British adults to take part - 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed.

On the basis of this study, some people who were holding back on coffee because of lingering health concerns may want to drink a little more if they want to, professor Lichstenstein says.

The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general United Kingdom population, the researchers said.

Participants filled out questionnaires about daily coffee consumption, exercise and other habits, and received physical exams including blood tests.

During the period of the study, over 14,000 participants died. But evidence also suggests caffeine could cause high blood pressure or heart attacks in those who find it tough to metabolize. But it turns out that even slow caffeine metabolizers seem to share the death-risk-reduction connected to coffee drinking.

"These findings suggest the importance of non caffeine constituents in the coffee-mortality association and provide further reassurance that coffee drinking can be a part of a healthy diet".

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.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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