- A new study shows that people who drink coffee, even those who drink eight or more cups a day, are less likely to die early than non-coffee drinkers.
- The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that even people who metabolize caffeine slowly are less likely to die early if they drink more coffee.
- This adds to a significant body of research indicating that coffee is connected to a long list of health benefits.
Feel free to pour yourself a cup of coffee before reading this – even if you’ve already had some today.
Yet another study has found that drinking coffee is associated with a longer life and lower risk of an early death. This adds to a significant body of research indicating that coffee has positive effects on the heart, liver, brain, and more.
The latest study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, reveals that people who drink more coffee have a lower risk of death even if they drink eight or more cups per day, and even if their genetics make them slow to process caffeine.
The study looked at 500,000 people in the UK, of whom 387,494 were coffee drinkers. The results suggested that people who drank two to five cups of coffee in a day were about 12% less likely to die than non-coffee-drinkers over the 10-year time period in the study. People who drank six to seven cups were 16% less likely to die, and people who drank eight or more cups were about 14% less likely to die.
It didn’t matter whether the coffee was decaf or regular, ground or instant – all were beneficial (though the connection to lower risk of death was weaker for instant coffee).
Up to eight cups a day – or more
This recent study drew from data from the UK Biobank study, an in-depth research initiative collecting data and following 500,000 people for three decades. The group studied was 54% female and had an average age of 57. Ten years after the start of the study, 14,225 people had died. Among at least the generally healthy individuals from the UK enrolled in this study, coffee drinkers seem to gain health benefits from the habit. The study results showed coffee drinkers had a lower risk of death overall, just as many other studies have found.
Because some people’s genetics make them slower to metabolize caffeine, the researchers wanted to see if that made coffee consumption riskier for these individuals. But it turns out that even slow caffeine metabolizers seem to share the death-risk-reduction connected to coffee drinking.
As with all studies like this in which researchers observe a group of people over time, this study can’t prove that coffee is the cause of the reduced risk of death. It can just say that people who drink coffee are less likely to die early.
But not only was this a very large study that demonstrated significant findings, it’s one of many studies that indicate coffee may be beneficial for health.
Evidence of the health benefits of coffee continues to mount
Another large study of 500,000 people in Europe showed similar results to the recent UK research: men who drank three cups of coffee per day were 12% less likely to die over a 16-year period than coffee abstainers, and women who drank that much coffee were 7% less likely to die.
Another study of 185,855 multi-ethnic Americans confirmed that result, too. People who drank one cup per day were 12% less likely to die. Consuming two to three daily cups was associated with an 18% decrease in risk for early death. That study is particularly important, as it shows these benefits apply to African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and white people. (People of colour are not always as well represented in these types of studies.)
Other research has indicated that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop various forms of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, dementia, liver cirrhosis, and heart disease.
In many studies, it hasn’t mattered whether coffee was caffeinated or not, which indicates that many benefits may not be connected to caffeine – there are all kinds of other antioxidant-rich compounds in coffee that could have an effect. Still, at least one recent study attributed the lower risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke to caffeine, though those researchers still cautioned that overdoing it with caffeine was possible.
As all this data shows, coffee is likely beneficial for most of us, and at the very least not harmful. So the next time someone says they’re trying to limit their coffee consumption, you can tell them not to worry about it.