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Moderate Coffee Drinking May Prevent Early Death

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 Dec 2015
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A new study suggests that people who drink up to five cups of coffee per day are less likely to die from heart disease, neurological disease, type 2 diabetes, or suicide.

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH; Boston, MA, USA) conducted a study to examine associations between consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and risk of subsequent total and cause-specific mortality. The study involved 74,890 women in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), 93,054 women in the NHS 2, and 40,557 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The analyses took into consideration potential confounding factors such as smoking, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, alcohol consumption, and other dietary factors.

The results showed that during 4,690,072 person-years of follow-up, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died. Compared to non-drinkers, coffee consumption of one to five cups per day was associated with lower risk of mortality, while coffee consumption of more than five cups per day was not associated with additional risk of mortality. Significant inverse associations were observed between coffee consumption and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, and suicide, but not total cancer mortality. The study was published on November 16, 2015, in Circulation.

“Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” said lead author Ming Ding, MSc, a doctoral student in the HSPS department of nutrition. “That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”

“Regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet,” added senior author professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Frank Hu, MD, PhD, also of the HSPS department of nutrition. “However, certain populations such as pregnant women and children should be cautious about high caffeine intake from coffee or other beverages.”

Coffee has a naturally complex botanical profile, with at least 1,000 natural compounds in the bean and another 300 created in the roasting process. Scientists have linked a number of them, including some strong antioxidants, with a host of physiological benefits. Caffeine, a natural stimulant, is just one of them, a natural component of the bean and the beverage that makes up no more than 2% of the typical cup of coffee.

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Harvard School of Public Health

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