Feel like coffee’s the elixir of life? Well you may just be on to something.
New research from two major studies reveals that regular coffee drinkers have a decreased risk of dying from a host of illnesses including, stroke and heart disease.
The first study conducted on more than 185,000 white and non-white participants commenced in the early 1990s, with scientists following up for an average of 16 years after. The results showed that consumption of one cup of coffee a day was linked to a 12 per cent lower risk of death at any age. While those who drank two to three cups a day had a reduced risk of 18 per cent.
Veronica Setiawan, associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern Carolina and co-author of the research responded to the findings and revealed the diseases which became a lesser risk for regular consumers.
“We found that coffee drinkers had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, from cancer, from stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and kidney disease” she said.
The second study was even more significant. It included more than 450,000 participants recruited from ten European countries between the years of 1992 and 2000. Again, the participants were examined for an average of 16 years.
After taking into account other determining factors like, smoking, general physicality and education the study concluded that men who drank three or more cups of coffee daily, had an 18 per cent lower risk of death and women an 8 per cent reduction. This was found to be the case across the board irrespective of the participants’ country of origin.
But, before we start celebrating too hard, many experts suggest taking caution with the research. They predict that coffee drinking was not the only contributing factor to the findings, but rather, that the statistics could be attributed to a range of influences.
For instance, it’s possible that coffee drinkers lead healthier lives in general. Or, that people with illnesses tend to refrain from consuming regular caffeine.
Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow backed this warning, saying “it is not necessarily the coffee drinking per se, it is that fact that there are other things about your lifestyle or the lack of ill-health that might be causing the association.” He stressed that while coffee could have beneficial effects, it would require randomised trials and more thorough studies to confirm its actual impact on overall health.
Setiawan agrees that the research was far from full proof. “This is an observational study,” “We cannot say, OK, [if] you drink coffee it is going to prolong your life.”
A sentiment Gunter shares. “I wouldn’t recommend people start rushing out drinking lots of coffee, but I think what it does suggest, is drinking coffee certainly does you no harm. It can be part of a healthy diet.”
No harm? Well, that’s good enough for us.