Hot on the heels of a California state agency declaration that coffee doesn’t pose a cancer risk after all, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has linked imbibing daily to a longer life, NPR’s The Salt
The study of roughly half a million adults in the U.K. shows that people who drink coffee – even as much as eight or more cups per day – enjoy longevity benefits.
“We found that people who drank two to three cups per day had about a 12 per cent lower risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers,” Erikka Loftfield, a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute, told NPR.
Researchers examined data from the U.K. Biobank: a decade-long genetic study that requires subjects to provide blood samples and complete a detailed health and lifestyle questionnaire.
In general, they found that coffee drinkers had a 10-15 per cent decreased death rate when compared to abstainers. Those who drank six to seven cups of coffee a day had a 16 per cent lower risk or death, while people who quaff eight or more cups were 14 per cent less likely to die.
All types of coffee revealed a benefit, whether decaffeinated, instant or regular (although the association was diminished in drinkers of instant coffee). And the longevity advantage applied to all coffee drinkers, including those who are genetically predisposed to metabolizing caffeine more slowly.
The study adds to a growing body of research supporting the positive impact of coffee on organs such as the heart and liver, and a decreased risk of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. In much of the research, benefits have been identified in drinkers of decaf and regular coffee, which suggests that the advantageous ingredient isn’t the caffeine.
Packed with nutrients and antioxidant-rich compounds, it’s thought that these elements in concert may be behind coffee’s healthful effects. As nutrition researcher Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health previously told NPR: “”My guess is that they’re working together to have some of these benefits.”