Could drinking a few cups of coffee a day add years to your life? It appears so, at least according to the latest studies in the news.
The coffee controversy brews on. That’s one way to look at the latest research about a topic which is often confounding in its tendency to pit pro versus con. This is a topic that particularly matters to the astounding 89 percent of the U.S. population that consumes caffeine.
Two new studies, both of which appeared on July 11, 2017 in The Annals of Internal Medicine, have garnered widespread attention. One study was notable for its size and scope. The researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London conducted the largest study to date on coffee and mortality. Over 520,000 healthy people over the age of 35 in 10 European countries were tracked over an average of 16 years. Those who consumed three or more cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of death from a variety of causes.
According to the study, coffee consumption was associated with reduced incidence of liver disease, suicide in men, cancer in women, digestive diseases and circulatory diseases. Those who drank coffee tended to have lower levels of inflammation, healthier lipid profiles and better controlled glucose compared with non-coffee drinkers. In addition, they found that these overall results were consistent, regardless of the country.
The other study was significant as it featured a unique cohort. Coffee consumption and its association with reduced risk of death has customarily featured white study subjects. This study focused on nonwhite populations. It included over 185,000 African-Americans, Native Americans, Japanese-Americans, Native Hawaiians and Latinos aged 45 to 75. Findings demonstrated that coffee consumption was inversely related to heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. It found an 18 percent lower risk of death for those who drank two to four cups of coffee a day compared with those who did not drink coffee. Interestingly, the trends were similar whether the coffee consumed was caffeinated or decaffeinated.
As in other similar research, some experts point out the drawbacks of the findings in both of these studies. One potential flaw is that the mortality rate in non-coffee drinkers could be due to the fact that the subjects were less healthy to begin with. The income levels and lifestyles, which were not considered in these studies, could have an impact on longevity. Some researchers claim the best take on this topic is to focus on what we know truly helps people live longer, like healthy eating and staying active.
Nonetheless, these studies do not stand alone. Benefits of coffee have long been touted in other research. Benefits range from preventing cirrhosis of the liver to lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, gout, melanoma and depression.
Myths About Coffee Consumption
While benefits of coffee are heralded, myths of partaking of this universal beverage also abound. Here are just a few.
Coffee stunts your growth – Where this came from is unclear, but perhaps it is this wives’ tale that helps keep children from lining up at the local Starbucks. The bottom line is that no studies have been able to prove that coffee stunts a person’s growth.
Coffee sobers you up – This is a dangerous myth, especially if it implies that anyone who has been drinking alcohol can consume coffee to be able to safely drive. Despite ingesting caffeine, reaction time and judgment are still impaired after drinking. This myth suggests that coffee will provide a boost of energy from the caffeine, mitigating the risk of the alcohol. However, no matter how much coffee you drink, the amount of alcohol in the system remains the same.
Coffee helps with weight loss – While the stimulation from the caffeine in coffee can create a very slight increase in metabolism, it is not enough to impact weight loss. Caffeine may dull the appetite briefly, but there is not sufficient evidence of any effects of coffee leading to long-term weight loss.
Coffee consumption and its impact on longevity is just one small piece of the healthcare puzzle. However, there are significant ways you can take a more proactive approach to your well-being. Think preventive care with a concierge physician. For more information about how you can get started with a concierge healthcare model, contact Healsa today.