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Question: Do Coffee Drinkers Live Longer?

Answer: Take heart coffee drinkers, your coffee habit might actually make you live longer!

A large government sponsored study tracked the coffee consumption and lifespan of over 400,000 senior citizens for 14 years. With previous research showing mixed benefits of coffee consumption, the researchers sought to answer the question of whether or not drinking coffee is a risky thing to do.

When taking into account potential confounding variables (such as smoking), they found that the people who drank the most coffee (2-6 cups a day) were less likely to die from infections, heart/lung disease, diabetes, stroke, or accidents and injuries. The risk of dying during the 14 year study was 10% lower for men, and 15% lower for women, showing a small but significant effect.

Interestingly, the effect was seen whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated, suggesting that one of the other 1000 compounds found in coffee is responsible for the health benefit.

The study, which was published in the May issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, does have some limitations. Coffee consumption habits were only tracked at a single point in time (when they entered the study), so it is possible drinking habits could have changed over time. Additionally, they didn’t ask how participants prepared their coffee, which could have influenced the results.

The researcher’s conclude that their “results provide reassurance with respect to the concern that coffee drinking might adversely affect health.”


Source:
Tara Parker-Pope, “Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer” New York Times, May 16, 2012 - http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/coffee-drinkers-may-live-longer/

Steven Fox, “Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Risk for Death,” Medscape Education, May 16, 2012 - http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/763962

 

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