Life-sav­ing brew

Pretoria News Weekend - - HEALTH -

DRINK­ING four cups of cof­fee a day sig­nif­i­cantly cuts the chance of an early death, re­search sug­gests.

A study of 20 000 peo­ple found heavy con­sump­tion of cof­fee cut the risk of dy­ing young by up to two thirds.

The Span­ish re­searchers, who tracked peo­ple aged 25 to 60 for a decade, be­lieve the an­tiox­i­dant plant com­pounds in cof­fee ben­e­fit the heart and ward off cancer.

As the par­tic­i­pants were rel­a­tively young, with an av­er­age age of 37 at the start of the study, the av­er­age chance of dy­ing dur­ing the 10 years they were stud­ied was very low at 1.7%.

Re­searchers found the risk of death fell even fur­ther among those who drank the most cof­fee. Ev­ery ex­tra two cups were as­so­ci­ated with a 22% rel­a­tive drop in mor­tal­ity – ris­ing to 30% among over45s. And those drink­ing four cups had a 64% rel­a­tive drop in death risk, com­pared with those who never or rarely con­sumed cof­fee, mean­ing they had an ab­so­lute death risk of well un­der 1%.

Study leader, Dr Adela Navarro, a car­di­ol­o­gist at Navarra Hos­pi­tal in Pam­plona, said: “I would ad­vise drink­ing plenty of cof­fee, it could be good for your heart.”

Pre­sent­ing her re­sults at the Euro­pean So­ci­ety of Car­di­ol­ogy con­fer­ence in Barcelona, she said cancer was the big­gest cause of death seen in her study, fol­lowed by heart dis­ease.

“These were young healthy peo­ple but the re­sults were con­sis­tent with other stud­ies,” she said. “I think it’s the polyphe­nols (in cof­fee), they have an anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fect.” The study was merely sta­tis­ti­cal – so could not prove that cof­fee was the cause of the im­proved mor­tal­ity – but it echoes find­ings from previous re­search.

Just last month a study of 520 000 peo­ple, led by Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, found cof­fee im­proves liver func­tion, re­duces in­flam­ma­tion and boosts the im­mune sys­tem.

Cof­fee con­tains many com­pounds which in­ter­act with the body, in­clud­ing caf­feine, diter­penes and an­tiox­i­dants, and sci­en­tists be­lieve some of these have a pro­tec­tive im­pact.

Some stud­ies have found sim­i­lar ben­e­fits among those drink­ing de­caf­feinated ver­sions, lead­ing sci­en­tists to con­clude that the an­tiox­i­dant plant com­pounds in cof­fee may pro­vide the most ben­e­fit.

Navarro added: “Our find­ings sug­gest that drink­ing four cups of cof­fee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy peo­ple. We didn’t find a cut-off, an up­per limit, but we didn’t have many very heavy cof­fee drinkers –very few have more than eight a day.”

But ex­perts warn peo­ple not to drink too much cof­fee.

The Euro­pean Food Safety Agency ad­vises that peo­ple drink no more than 0.4g of caf­feine a day – the equiv­a­lent of five espres­sos, or four cups of in­stant cof­fee.

Pro­fes­sor Metin Avki­ran, of the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion, said: “The best way to min­imise your risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and pre­ma­ture death is to con­cen­trate on an over­all healthy life­style – eat a bal­anced diet, stay ac­tive and don’t smoke – rather than lin­ing up the lat­tes.”

– Daily Mail

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.