Drinking three to five cups of coffee a day might help you live longer, according to new research. Moderate coffee consumption reduces the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes, scientists found. It also seems to lower the risk of suicide -but no association was seen with rates of cancer death.Whether or not the coffee drunk contained caffeine made no difference. The benefits are thought to be linked to other plant compounds in coffee besides the stimulant. Lead scientist Ming Ding, from the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in the US, said: “Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation. That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.” The results, published in the journal Circulation, are from a pooled analysis of three large on-going studies with a total of 2,08,501 male and female participants. Coffee drinking was assessed using food questionnaires completed every four years for around 30 years.
Compared with less or no coffee drinking, moderate coffee consumption was associated with a significant reduced risk of death across a range of causes. The analysis took into account other factors that could have influenced the results including smoking, body mass index (BMI), levels of physical activity, alcohol consumption and diet.
Co-author Professor Frank Hu, also from the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, said: “This study provides further evidence that moderate consumption of coffee may confer health benefits in terms of reducing premature death due to several diseases.” Emily Reeve, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It is important to remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what really matters if you want to keep your heart healthy, not how much coffee you drink.Previous research suggests that drinking up to five cups of coffee a day is not harmful to your cardiovascular health, and this study supports that. But more research is needed to fully understand how coffee affects our body and what it is in coffee that may affect a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke.”