A shocking report – or at least one that should be shocking – appeared this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers studied data from 171, 616 people with a mean age of 55.6 years and found that, over seven years, coffee drinkers were a whopping 30% less likely to die over that period. Those drinking sugar-sweetened coffee shared the benefit, although results for drinkers of artificially sweetened coffee were not as clear.
by David Stone
A Roosevelt Island Daily News Feature Article
Coffee Is Healthy, and That’s “Huge”
“It’s huge. There are very few things that reduce your mortality by 30 percent,” said Dr. Christina Wee.
Wee an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Deputy Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers evaluated the demographic, lifestyle, and dietary data gathered from more than 170,000 individuals aged 37 to 73 over a median period of seven years.
Studies of that size and length are considered conclusive, but there’s a catch because the report shows only a result. It says nothing about why drinking coffee had such a profound effect. It correlates but does not conclude about causes.
Because this leaves open explanations other than coffee for reaching those results, scientists must look further for likely causes of the positive effects.
About Coffee and Health
Coffee is the most popular drink in the world after water, and it has a long history. The first coffee bushes probably grew in Ethiopia. From there, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen. It was not until the 16th century that coffee reached Europe, and it became widely consumed only in the 17th century.
Coffee is now grown in more than 70 countries, with Brazil as the leading producer, followed by Vietnam, Colombia, and Ethiopia. The United States is the leading importer of coffee.
Coffee beans are the pits of coffee cherries. They are roasted to produce the familiar smell and flavor of the coffee.
The main active ingredient in coffee is caffeine. Coffee also contains nutrients such as vitamin B2, potassium, and magnesium.
Caffeine has been studied extensively and is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine, but the amount of caffeine in a cup can vary depending on the type of coffee bean, the roasting method, grind size, and brewing method. For instance, Arabica coffee beans contain less caffeine than Robusta coffee beans.
The FDA recommends that healthy adults limit their intake of caffeine to 400 mg per day, which is about 4-5 cups of coffee.
Coffee and Disease
Several large prospective cohort studies have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality. These studies have generally shown that coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The Nurses’ Health Study found that women who drank 2-3 cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of death from all causes compared to women who didn’t drink coffee.
A similar study in men found that men who drank 6 cups or more of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of death from all causes compared to men who didn’t drink coffee.
The most recent large prospective cohort study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
This study included more than 170,000 men and women from 10 European countries. Coffee drinkers were 20-30% less likely to die during the follow-up period than non-coffee drinkers.
The benefits of coffee were seen with both regular and decaffeinated coffee, and they were seen in both men and women.
The benefits of coffee were also seen in people who drank sugar-sweetened coffee and those who drank unsweetened coffee.
So, what is it about coffee that might be responsible for these health benefits?
Coffee and Antioxidants
Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are reactive molecules that can damage cells, and they are involved in the development of many chronic diseases.
The main antioxidant in coffee is chlorogenic acid, which is also found in green coffee beans. Chlorogenic acid has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including weight loss and lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Coffee also contains other antioxidants, such as quinines and ferulic acid. These substances may also contribute to the health benefits of coffee.
In conclusion, coffee is a complex beverage that contains hundreds of substances. These substances have a variety of effects on the body, and they likely contribute to the health benefits of coffee.
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