What factors do you think of when you consider things that could save your life? Do you think of a healthy diet, exercise, fresh air, or maybe loving relationships or friendships? While all of these things are definitely helpful for a healthy and long life, according to new research drinking coffee may also help lengthen your life.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that coffee consumption could reduce the risk of death. A meta-analysis of twenty-one studies of nearly one million study participants and 121,915 deaths revealed a strong link between coffee consumption and a reduced incidence of death due to cardiovascular disease and “all-cause mortality.” All-cause mortality simply refers to the general incidence of death from non-specific causes.
Because coffee is one of the world’s most widely consumed beverages, even small health benefits could have wide-reaching public health ramifications. There has been a tremendous amount of controversy in the scientific arena as to whether coffee is a healthy or unhealthy beverage. A previous study in the Journal of Hyptertension has linked coffee consumption, and its caffeine content in particular, to high blood pressure. Another previous study in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology found that unfiltered coffee consumption was linked to an increase in cholesterol levels. This same study showed a link between unfiltered coffee consumption and an increased risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.
So what does it all mean? The jury is still out regarding caffeine’s positive or negative health effects, but coffee contains other compounds known as methylxanthines and caffeic acid that have proven anti-inflammatory effects and the ability to improve the body’s use of insulin. A study published in the medical journal Diabetes Care found that coffee consumption may even help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Even scientists are reluctant to make any hard and fast conclusions as to whether drinking coffee is beneficial to health, but the newest meta-analysis in the American Journal of Epidemiology goes a long way toward ending the debate. This study found that the greatest reduction in all-cause mortality risk was observed in people who drank four cups of coffee daily. The greatest risk reduction from death due to cardiovascular disease was observed in those who drank three cups of coffee daily. There did not appear to be any link between the risk of death from cancer and coffee consumption. The scientists make the bold conclusion that: “Findings from this meta-analysis indicate that coffee consumption is inversely associated with all-cause and CVD mortality.”
So go ahead and enjoy your daily brew guilt-free (but in moderation!) it may be saving your life. Take it easy on the milk, sugar, and flavor shots. They may be a different story.