Some people say they can’t function without it. Some consider it a drug. Some just love the taste.
And what about coffee and health?
According to a study recently published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, coffee is healthy.
Coffee contains a variety of biological compounds. Best known among these is caffeine.
Caffeine has some effects that may be harmful to health.
For example, caffeine increases blood pressure and stimulates tumors. Therefore, some people suggest that coffee might be detrimental to health.
However, the other compounds in coffee have favorable effects to health.
For example, they improve glucose tolerance and lower inflammation. Thus, what is the net effect of coffee consumption on health?
The researchers collected data from a total of 97,753 subjects living in Japan. The subjects were aged 40-79 at the start of the study. The researchers followed them for 16 years.
After those 16 years, the researchers analyzed the data they had collected.
The subjects were divided in four groups based on their daily coffee consumption:
- less than one 1 cup
- 1 cup
- 2-3 cups
- 4 or more cups
The researchers found that the risk of mortality decreased with increasing coffee consumption.
Coffee consumption was also associated with decreased mortality in women.
However, there seemed to be a small increase in mortality at the highest level of intake. This may suggest a U-shaped association between coffee consumption and mortality.
This means that mortality risk decreases with increasing coffee consumption to a certain extent. Beyond that certain point, drinking more coffee might actually be detrimental.
Coffee consumption had no effect on cancer mortality risk.
Thus, coffee must reduce the risk of other causes of mortality. Based on an earlier study from the researchers, they speculate that coffee consumption reduces cardiovascular disease.
The researchers conclude that coffee consumption reduces mortality in both men and women.
Based on their results, ~3 cups a day might be the optimal quantity. Remember, if a little bit of something is good, it does not mean that more is better!
Study:Eur J Epidemiol. 2011 Apr;26(4):285-93. Epub 2011 Feb 6.
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