Drink Coffee. Live Longer? (Really!)

Coffee could--quite literally--be a lifesaver.

Drinking coffee, be it regular or decaffeinated, appears to lower your risk of death by lessening the chance of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's, as well as suicide, CNN reports of research from the Harvard School of Public Health.

The study: Led by Ming Ding, the Harvard team analyzed data from previous research that asked U.S. adults how much coffee they drank daily, as well as other foods and beverages consumed. The various studies included more than 200,000 women and 50,000 men, all of whom were doctors, nurses and other health professionals. During the period of the research, nearly 32,000 study participants died.

The results:

  • Among all the study participants, those who drank between less than one cup of coffee and three cups a day had a 5 percent to 9 percent lower risk of dying than those who consumed no coffee. Drinking more than three cups a day provided no benefit.

  • But among those who had never smoked and drank a lot of coffee, the benefit was even stronger. Nonsmokers who consumed between less than a cup of coffee and three cups a day had a 6 percent to 8 percent lower risk of dying than non-coffee drinkers, but those who drank three to five cups and more than five cups had 15 percent and 12 percent lower death rates.

  • Coffee drinkers were about 10 percent less likely to die of heart disease.

  • Java lovers were also between 9 percent and 37 percent less likely to die of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's and dementia.

  • The study participants who drank at least one cup of coffee a day had between 20 percent and 36 percent lower rates of suicide, although those who drank less than a cup had 36 percent higher rates.

Why does coffee help extend your life? It probably isn't lifestyle. While coffee drinkers tend to consume less soda, which has been linked to higher rates of death and heart disease, they also tend to eat more red meat and drink more alcohol.

Ding thinks that some of the health benefits of coffee are due to the chemical ingredients in the brew, such as lignans and chlorogenic acid, that could reduce inflammation and help control blood sugar, both of which could help reduce the risk of heart disease.

The study findings were published in the journal Circulation.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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