Could five cups of coffee daily help you live longer?
Drink found to reduce chance of heart disease, Parkinson’s, Type 2 diabetes thanks to compound in the beans
DRINKING up to five cups of coffee a day could help you live longer, scientists say.
The risk of an early death from heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and type two diabetes are reduced by moderate coffee drinking, their research suggests.
The study, based on more than 200,000 people, suggests that drinking coffee also lowers the risk of suicide.
Whether or not the coffee drunk contained caffeine made no difference.
The benefits are thought to be linked to plant compounds in coffee beans.
The authors found that drinking between three and five cups of coffee a day has beneficial health impacts.
Lead scientist Ming Ding, of Harvard School of Public Health in the United States (US), said: “Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation.
“That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”
The results, published in the journal Circulation, were based on a pooled analysis of three large on-going studies with a total of 208,501 male and female participants.
Coffee drinking was assessed using food questionnaires completed every four years for around 30 years.
Compared with less or no coffee drinking, moderate coffee consumption was associated with a significant reduced risk of death across a range of causes.
The analysis took into account other factors that could have influenced the results including smoking, body mass index, levels of physical activity, alcohol consumption and diet.
Co-author Professor Frank Hu, also of Harvard School of Public Health, said: “This study provides further evidence that moderate consumption of coffee may confer health benefits in terms of reducing premature death due to several diseases.”
But Emily Reeve, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It is important to remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what really matters if you want to keep your heart healthy, not how much coffee you drink.
“Previous research suggests that drinking up to five cups of coffee a day is not harmful to your cardiovascular health, and this study supports that. But more research is needed to fully understand how coffee affects our body and what it is in coffee that may affect a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke.”
Claire Bale, head of research communications at Parkinson’s UK, said: “This study adds to existing research on caffeine and its potential associated protective qualities in reducing the risk of Parkinson’s.
“Particularly interesting is that the study shows regardless of whether the coffee is de-caffeinated or caffeinated, drinking a moderate amount may slightly reduce the risk of a person developing Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases.
“Further investigation is needed to find out if coffee could genuinely help us fight Parkinson’s – taking us a step closer to helping improve the lives of people with the condition.
“It’s important to remember that there are many health issues associated with excess caffeine intake.”
Previous research into coffee’s health benefits
In recent years, there has been a wide range of experimentation into the consequences of high coffee intake. Results seem to show coffee as having a positive role in type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and some liver diseases.
On the other side of the coin, coffee appears to negatively impact blood pressure and plasma homocysteine, both of which increase cardiovascular risk, contrary to the current study’s findings.
In addition, some sections of society are likely to be more vulnerable to adverse effects. Another of the study’s authors, Dr. Frank Hu, adds another word of caution: “Regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, certain populations such as pregnant women and children should be cautious about high caffeine intake from coffee or other beverages.”
The current study’s results certainly are intriguing. Dr. Ding and his team hope that further research, over the years to come, will tease apart the roles of some of the individual ingredients within coffee.
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