If the staff at Java Junction, Brockport’s premier coffee shop, sees a jump in business in the near future it shouldn’t be surprising. Research published last week by the American Heart Association found that that drinking coffee helps you to live longer (but only if you don’t smoke).
The authors of the study, Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts, reached the conclusion that, “Higher consumption of total coffee, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee was associated with lower risk of total mortality.” In other words, people who drink coffee live longer.
The object of the study was to assess the association between consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee and the death rate. The study included 167,944women and 40,557men. All of the women were nurses and all of the men were health professionals (dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, optometrists, osteopathic physicians, or podiatrists). All the women had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) or the NHS II Study, and all the men had participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS).
The study was conducted by having each participant fill out a questionnaire about their medical history, their lifestyle, and their usual diet. Dietary data was collected every four years from the NHS and the HPFS participants starting in 1986, and from the NHS II participants starting in 1991 In all of the questionnaires, participants were asked how often on average they consumed a standard portion size of each food item during the previous year. For coffee, the standard portion size was a cup, and the participants were asked how often they drank a cup of “caffeinated coffee” and how often they drank a cup a cup of “decaffeinated coffee”.
During 4,690,072 person-years of follow-up on the study’s participants, 19,524 of the women and 12,432 of the men died. But the researchers could not find any association between coffee drinking or non- coffee drinking and the death rate. This puzzled the researchers until they realized that some of the participants in the study were smokers while other participants in the study were non-smokers.
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
T. S. Eliot
Then it dawned on the researchers that the negative effects of smoking are so bad that they probably overpowered the good effects of any good habits, such as a healthy diet or regular exercise. So the researchers recalculated the results for just the non-smokers.
When the researchers looked at coffee consumption of only the participants who had said they never smoked, the relationship between coffee and living longer became quite clear: The participants who said that they drank anywhere from less than a cup of coffee a day to three cups a day had a 6% to 8% lower death rate than non-coffee drinkers. The participants who said that they drank three to five cups or more than five cups a day had 12% to 15% lower death rate than non-coffee drinkers. So the results of the study seem to indicate that coffee is good for you, and more coffee is better for you.
The lead author of the study, Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Harvard School of Public Health department of nutrition, told CNN “The lower risk of mortality is consistent with our hypothesis that coffee consumption could be good for you because we have published papers showing that coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”
Ding also told CNN that coffee drinkers may have a lower mortality rate because coffee contains chemicals such as lignans and chlorogenic acid that could reduce inflammation and help control blood sugar, both of which could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
So stop by Java Junction and have a cup of coffee or two. It might just make you live longer.