Fresh grounds for coffee: Study shows it may boost longevity

How Much Coffee Is Good for You? Scientists Believe Drink Could Cut Risk of Death Even in Large Amounts

How Much Coffee Is Good for You? Scientists Believe Drink Could Cut Risk of Death Even in Large Amounts

A new study found that drinking coffee, even more than 8 cups a day, was linked with a lower risk of death within a 10-year follow-up period.

Researchers say this suggests caffeine wasn't responsible, but as the study was observational more research is required to determine what is behind the benefit.

The research, which was published in the JAMA medical journal, states that over the 10-year study, 14,225 participants died. We all metabolise coffee at different rates, which alters our sensitivity to it, but the data showed that this had no effect on the link between drinking coffee and a longer life.

Tufts University nutrition expert Alice Lichtenstein, who was not involved in the study, said that the results do not mean that non-coffee drinkers should force themselves to drink it. The study results showed coffee drinkers had a lower risk of death overall, just as many other studies have found.

"It's hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad", she said.

Because these health benefits were found both in people who metabolize coffee differently and those who drank decaf brew, researchers think something other than caffeine may be at play.

The researchers aren't exactly sure why drinking coffee might boost longevity, although lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, pointed out to The Associated Press that coffee is rich in antioxidants.

Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas on his way to fetch two iced coffees for friends in downtown Chicago on Monday, said the study results make sense. "The tastes may vary depending on how you drink the coffee; the chemical compounds that may be beneficial probably don't change as much, so regardless of how you drink coffee, you're probably going to get most of the benefits". One cup of coffee lowers the risk of death by eight percent.

For the study, researchers invited nine million British adults to take part - 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general United Kingdom population, the researchers said. Some prior studies had suggested that people with these gene variations could be at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, Loftfield said.

The study covered people who drank instant, ground and decaffeinated coffee.

When all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolisers had a longevity boost.

"While this research offers further reassurance to current coffee drinkers, people should not start drinking coffee purely in an attempt to become healthier", he advised.

Adding toppings to coffee like cream, sugar and whipped cream can also vastly increase calories, and possibly negate it's positive effects.

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