US researchers have discovered an association between drinking coffee and living longer.
It’s a strange association because they found that coffee drinkers also tended to be cigarette smokers, meat eaters, consumers of larger-than-average amounts of alcohol and were less likely to engage in vigorous exercise.
But it was a large, prospective cohortIn epidemiology, a group of individuals with some characteristics in common. A cohort study is a special kind of clinical trial which looks at a treatment or treatment strategy in a cohort of people. study — over 500,000 men and women aged between 51 and 70 years of age followed for 14 years—and after adjusting for potential confounders (smoking status in particular), they found that compared to men who drink no coffee, those who drank 6 or more cups per day had a 10% lower risk of death, whereas women in the same category had a 15% lower risk.
Coffee consumption was significantly linked to less chance of dying from heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes[Diabetes mellitus] A disorder in which sugars in the diet cannot be metabolised into energy due to a lack of the enzyme insulin. Late-onset diabetes mellitus may be a long-term side effect of some anti-HIV drugs., infections, injuries and accidents.
Cancer was the only cause of death not positively affected.
‘Given the observational nature of our study, it is not possible to conclude that the inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality reflects cause and effect. However, we can speculate about plausible mechanisms, by which coffee consumption might have health benefits,’ they say.
‘Coffee contains more than 1000 compounds that might affect the risk of death. The most well-studied compound is caffeine, although similar associations for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee in the current study and a previous one suggest that, if the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality were causal, other compounds in coffee (e.g., antioxidants, including polyphenols) might be important.’
So they are unable to assess whether this association is due to the coffee itself or something else, but they confidently claim that: ‘our results provide reassurance with respect to the concern that coffee drinking might adversely affect health.’
In other words: have a cup.