Rachel Croyden* We here good and bad coffee reports almost monthly. Is it good? Is it bad? Will it fight disease? Will it help hasten your demise?
However, for coffee lovers – like those hard-working lawyers, business people, professionals and others who need their once- twice- or more daily coffees, there is some good news.
Latest research shows that even the heavy-duty coffee addict is less likely to die early than those who don’t drink coffee at all.
But, there’s more, too.
It doesn’t matter what type of coffee, including even decaf, because coffee-drinkers generally do better than those who are not coffee drinkers.
The research from the National Cancer Institute involved coffee drinkers in the UK, based on a large user group of over half a million people who gave blood and answered detailed questions on their health and lifestyle.
The NCI team looked at the kind of coffee that was drunk and the different genes used to metabolize caffeine, before examining death rates over the 10 year life of the research.
Then they looked at death rates over 10 years of the study.
And this comes at a time when coffee has had to deal with a range of potential health dangers, ranging from stunting growth to cancers.
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The Coffee Result
No matter what kind of coffee they drank, those who consumed coffee were less likely to die over the 10 year period than the non-coffee drinkers. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine.
Even those ‘addicts’ who said they drank more than eight cups a day were less likely to die, on average, than non-drinkers.
Is Coffee A Life-Saver?
There is also a reason to believe that some of the UK coffee drinkers used in the study were less than healthy to start with. One of the research team noted that coffee drinkers, compared with those who do not drink coffee, are more likely to be male, white, former smokers and alcohol consumers.
All of which elevates their overall health profile.
“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 researcher said.
In the 10 years of follow-up, more than 14,000 people died. But non-coffee drinkers were more likely to have died than coffee-drinkers.
That Long Black
The ‘dangers’ of coffee drinking have almost certainly been over-stated and now, it appears, the reverse is true: coffee consumption studies have previously tended to fail to take into account high-risk health issues like physical inactivity, smoking and the like.
And, as a Mayo Clinic report indicated, some studies have also found that there is an association between coffee consumption and reduced overall mortality, including possibly cardiovascular mortality.
While there may be some risk of cholesterol elevation from high consumption of unfiltered coffee, and a risk of heart disease for people with a genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine, the overall scientific studies show that coffee is – on balance – better for you than not.
But, like everything else, a degree of moderation is hardly a bad thing either.
*Rachel Croydon writes on health issues for health publications, blogs and other online publications.