Tip for longer living? Drink coffee, study says

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04 Jul 2018 --- Coffee consumption is associated with lower mortality rates and can be part of a healthy diet, says a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers found that those who drink six or seven cups of coffee per day were 16 percent less likely to die from a fatal disease than those drinking no coffee.

Utilizing data from The UK Biobank, a population-based study that invited approximately 9.2 million individuals from across the UK to participate analyzed demographic, lifestyle and genetic data with a follow up beginning in 2006 and ending in 2016. The observations estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for coffee intake and mortality and investigated the potential effect of caffeine metabolism differences on results.

Over the ten years there were 14,255 deaths yet, significantly, researchers found that risk of death from any cause declined steadily as coffee consumption increased. Those who drank a cup a day had a 6 percent lower risk than those who drank less than that and people who drank eight or more cups a day had a 14 percent lower risk, which is almost twice as low. While those who drank six or seven cups had a lowered risk of 16 percent.

It was also found that the type of coffee had no significant effect on the results (ground, instant and decaffeinated) and nor did the genetic variants for slower of faster caffeine metabolism, thereby indicating that caffeine is not the component of coffee delivering the long-life benefits.

Is coffee good for us?
The role that coffee can play in a healthy diet can sometimes polarize opinion with proponents touting the health benefits of antioxidant-filled coffee beans and opponents often focusing on the negative impact that caffeine can cause. The scientific community has delivered increased caution on caffeine consumption in light of a range of studies.

A study in the report, Genetics, Metabolism and Individual Responses to Caffeine, sought to determine why some coffee drinkers are more affected by caffeine than others and categorized individual response into three groups: high sensitivity, regular sensitivity and low sensitivity. The study suggested that an individual's response to caffeine is likely determined by two main genetic factors: whether their liver can metabolize caffeine quickly or slowly; and whether they carry a genetic variation that makes their central nervous system more sensitive to caffeine's stimulating effects. As a result of the findings, the lead author advised consumers not to drink coffee purely for health benefits, instead suggesting a long walk or eating a bowl of vegetables. He further stressed the importance of healthcare professionals considering individual caffeine responses when advising consumers on their coffee intake. 

Click to Enlarge
Infographic from the Institute for Scientific Information 
on Coffee.

Furthermore, even moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy, one to two cups per day, is related to a risk of overweight or obesity in school-age children, according to a study published in the BMJ Open Journal. The study did not clearly show if caffeine was the direct cause of the weight gain but the relationship alone caused researchers to encourage increased caution over coffee consumption. 

Nevertheless, coffee is a much-loved beverage globally. Innova Market Insights Top Ten Trends for 2018 even placed Beyond the Coffeehouse at number five. This trend pegs coffee as trending among millennial and generation Z consumers, as they flock to the beverage for its taste and health benefits.

A notable innovative example in the coffee world was the “broccoli latte” that hit headlines last month. A broccoli powder developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and agriculture group Hort Innovation, Australia, in efforts to deliver high-levels of nutrients to consumers, was added to lattes in Melbourne cafés to provide a nutrient dense and novel coffee. 

Therefore, despite this study providing reassurance to coffee drinkers, it potentially should not be confused with guidance for increased coffee consumption as clinical studies continue to investigate the effects of coffee and caffeine on the body.

By Laxmi Haigh

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

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