Can cof­fee ex­tend your life?

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

HAV­ING a morn­ing cup of java -- and an­other and an­other -- might pro­long your life, a new study sug­gests. In fact, drink­ing lots of cof­fee was as­so­ci­ated with a lower risk of early death, in­clud­ing among peo­ple who downed eight or more cups per day. And it’s not the caf­feine. To reap the ben­e­fit, it doesn’t mat­ter if your cof­fee is de­caf or in­stant or caf­feinated, the re­searchers said. “This study may pro­vide re­as­sur­ance to cof­fee drinkers,” said lead re­searcher Er­ikka Loft­field, an epi­demi­ol­o­gist at the US Na­tional Can­cer In­sti­tute.

But Loft­field cau­tioned that be­cause this was an ob­ser­va­tional study, it can’t prove that cof­fee caused peo­ple to live longer. Peo­ple who drank eight or more cups of cof­fee a day had a 14 per cent lower risk of dy­ing over a 10-year study pe­riod, com­pared with those who didn’t drink cof­fee, the re­searchers found. For those who drank six to seven cups a day, the risk was cut 16 per cent, Loft­field said. More­over, to get the ben­e­fit, it didn’t mat­ter whether some­one metabolised caf­feine slowly or quickly. “It’s the non-caf­feine com­po­nents that might be re­spon­si­ble for the as­so­ci­a­tion,” she said.

Cof­fee con­tains more than 1,000 bi­o­log­i­cal com­pounds, in­clud­ing potas­sium and folic acid, known to have an ef­fect on the body, Loft­field ex­plained. But, she added, for non-cof­fee drinkers, the mod­est ben­e­fits aren’t a rea­son to start. “If some­body en­joys drink­ing cof­fee, they may con­tinue to en­joy it based on these find­ings. But if they don’t drink cof­fee, these find­ings don’t say to start drink­ing it,” Loft­field said. For the study, the re­searchers col­lected data on more than 500,000 peo­ple who took part in a large, long-run­ning Bri­tish study.

Over 10 years of fol­low-up, more than 14,000 peo­ple died. But those who drank the most cof­fee were less likely to die, the find­ings showed. Sa­man­tha Heller is a nu­tri­tion­ist at NYU Lan­gone Med­i­cal Cen­tre in New York City. “Like so many plant foods,” she said, “the cof­fee bean is brim­ming with polyphe­nols that, re­search sug­gests, con­fer health ben­e­fits, such as an­tiox­i­dant, anti-in­flam­ma­tory, anti-can­cer, anti-di­a­betes and anti- hy­per­ten­sive prop­er­ties.”

Plants in­clud­ing veg­eta­bles, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains have many health­ful com­pounds that have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on health and well-be­ing, Heller said. Due in part to these com­pounds, peo­ple who fol­low a more plant-based ap­proach to eat­ing have lower rates of chronic dis­eases, such as cer­tain can­cers, obe­sity, di­a­betes, de­men­tia, heart dis­ease and de­pres­sion, she added. But, “drink­ing cof­fee is not a mir­a­cle in a cup, and is un­likely to pre­vent the con­se­quences of an un­healthy life­style, such as the typ­i­cal Western diet or smok­ing to­bacco,” Heller noted.

In ad­di­tion, the caf­feine in cof­fee may have bad health con­se­quences for some peo­ple, she said. “Teas also have health ben­e­fits, so if you do not drink cof­fee, tea is a great al­ter­na­tive,” Heller said. “Over­all, though, cof­fee can cer­tainly be con­sid­ered a part of a healthy diet.” The re­port was pub­lished on­line in the jour­nal JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine.

*All ma­te­ri­als are only for your in­for­ma­tion, and should not be con­strued as med­i­cal ad­vice. Where nec­es­sary, ap­pro­pri­ate pro­fes­sion­als should be con­sulted

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