According to a recent study published in the American Heart Association Journal entitled “Circulation,” consuming two to three cups of coffee every day—irrespective of them being regular or decaf—can minimize the risk of death from heart diseases and other illnesses.
Researchers from Harvard University discovered that people who drink an average of less than five cups of coffee per day experienced lower risk of deaths from cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, type-2 diabetes, and suicide. Moderate consumption was categorized as five cups or less per day.
“The main message is that regular consumption, meaning three to five cups of coffee a day, is associated with lower risk in total mortality and mortality from several causes like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and suicide,” Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology who helped lead the study, “In previous studies on that issue, most of the coffee was caffeinated coffee. In our study, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee showed a lower mortality risk, but there is no final conclusion yet.”
Hu and his team studied and observed coffee-drinking habits in about 170,000 women and 40,000 men from three separate previous studies to draw their conclusions. The participants had their coffee drinking habits evaluated every four years and their health assessed for up to 30 years. Throughout the follow-up period, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died from various causes. The link between coffee and longevity became obvious when researchers repeated their study and analysis on only the nonsmokers. People who drink coffee are also more likely to smoke and drink alcohol, and the only thing this super-drink can’t do or cancel out is lung cancer.
“Regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet,” Hu said. “However, certain populations such as pregnant women and children should be cautious about high caffeine intake from coffee or other beverages.”
Coffee mostly contains lignans and chlorogenic acid, chemicals that, according to various studies, reduce inflammation and control blood sugar, and hence, also reduce the risk of heart disease. Nevertheless, the coffee study doesn’t deliver a coherent correlation, since smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating red meat are some factors that also need to be taken into consideration. Moreover, it is important to note here that researchers also didn’t report regarding the categories of coffee the participants consumed or if they had additives such as cream and sugar, for that matter.
“Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” said first author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition. “That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”
While the results appear to be very interesting, previous studies have indicated that drinking coffee could prevent prostate and liver cancer. However, the recent coffee study did not find a correlation between coffee consumption and lower death rates caused by cancer. It was also not highlighted by the researchers how increasing coffee intake would alter health perspectives.