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The link between coffee and mortality


According to research, drinking coffee can be a lifesaver. In fact, people who drink about three cups of coffee every day would have a lesser risk of death when compared to those who don’t drink coffee.

The study was a comprehensive one, where scientists gathered data from more than half a million people from across ten European countries (including the United Kingdom) in order to analyze the effects that coffee has on the risk of mortality. Researchers from the Imperial College of London and the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) confirmed that higher levels of consuming coffee was strongly associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes and more particularly from circulatory diseases and conditions related to the digestive tract.

One of the most consumed beverages in the world, it is estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every single day. Coffee contains compounds that can interact with the body and these include diterpenes, antioxidants and of course, caffeine. The ratio of these compounds can also be affected by the ways in which the coffee is prepared.

Earlier studies tried to discover the link between coffee and health and the results have been conflicting. However, larger research, both in Japan and the United States have concluded a comprehensive research that has revealed that drinking coffee can benefit health.

In the most recent study published in the Journals Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers did a thorough analysis on the effects of drinking coffee in an European population where the preparation methods largely vary – from capuccino in UK to espresso in Italy – and a similar correlation was found between coffee consumption and mortality.

Those who consume higher levels of coffee were associated with a lower risk of death from any cause and these results were very similar across ten European nations. With the help of data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, the research group gathered and studied data from 521,330 people over the age of 35 from 10 European countries. The diets of people were also assessed using interviews and questionnaires. The highest level of coffee consumption in volume was reported in Denmark and the lowest in Italy. Those who drank coffee were also more likely to be younger.

Sixteen years following the study, almost 42,000 people in the study had died from many health conditions including circulatory diseases, stroke, cancer and heart failure, to name a few. By analyzing careful statistical adjustments for lifestyle factors such smoking and dieting, the group of researchers concluded that the group with the highest level of coffee consumption had a lower risk for all causes of death when compared with those who did not drink as much coffee.The study also found out that decaffeinated coffee had a similar impact.

The consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, however, is not easy to separate as they couldn’t exclude that decaffeinated coffee consumers would have been consuming caffeinated coffee too in various periods of their life.

In a separate set of 14,000 people, the researchers also analyzed metabolic biomarkers and found that those who drank coffee may have healthier lives and a better control of glucose as opposed to non-coffee drinkers. Drinking more coffee was also linked with a better liver function profile and a stronger immune response. This conclusion, together with the consistency of results from other large-scale research, only confirms the fact that coffee has many health effects.

However, more research is needed in order to find out which of the compounds in coffee are potentially beneficial for health and other avenues of research could include intervention studies and looking the overall effect that coffee has on health. The findings of the research indicates that coffee is not only safe to drink but it offers protective health for people too.

Owing to the limitations in observations research, it should be noted that researchers were not at a stage of recommending people to drink more of less coffee but the results clearly suggest that moderate consumption of coffee – anywhere around three cups a day – is not harmful for health and could actually have health benefits.

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