Your daily cup of joy may help you live longer, say scientists who have found that drinking coffee may lower the risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 per cent less likely to die compared to those who did not drink coffee.
This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day — 18 per cent reduced chance of death. Lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, said Veronica W Setiawan, associate professor at University of Southern California (USC) in the US.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and USC’s Keck School of Medicine. The ongoing Multiethnic Cohort Study has more than 215,000 participants and bills itself as the most ethnically diverse study examining lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer. “Until now, few data have been available on the association between coffee consumption and mortality in nonwhites in the US and elsewhere,” researchers said. “Such investigations are important because lifestyle patterns and disease risks can vary substantially across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and findings in one group may not necessarily apply to others,” they said.
Since the association was seen in four different ethnicities, Setiawan said it is safe to say the results apply to other groups. “This study is the largest of its kind and includes minorities who have very different lifestyles,” Setiawan said. “Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American,
Latino or Asian,” he said.
Previous research by USC and others have indicated that drinking coffee is associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Setiawan said any positive effects from drinking coffee are far-reaching because of the number of people who enjoy or rely on the beverage every day.
“Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention,” Setiawan said. “Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle,” he said.