Coffee is a wonderful beverage! It helps us to wake up each morning after staying up too late the night before. Coffee finishes off a good meal. It even helped Seattle avoid bankruptcy (OK, I can't really back that up). New research has found that drinking coffee can actually help you to live longer. Looking good, Juan Valdez!
A recent medical study was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health and AARP. The results of the study were recently published in the prestigious medical journal the New England Journal of Medicine. This study found a remarkable correlation between drinking coffee and having a lower risk of death. It should be noted that the Starbucks company played no role in the research.
Lead researcher Dr. Neal Freedman studied the medical records of 400,000 American men and women between the ages of 50 and 71. The study began in 1995 and continued to collect participants through 1996. These people were then followed until December 31, 2008.
After collecting all of the results, Dr. Freedman found that coffee drinkers had an increased risk of death compared to people who did not drink coffee. However, coffee drinkers are also more likely to smoke and drink alcohol than non-coffee drinkers. When the impact of smoking and drinking was taken out of the picture, coffee drinkers actually had a LOWER risk of death than non-coffee drinkers.
The researchers did not propose a reason for this unexpected improvement in lifespan. Caffeine, a prime candidate for medical studies, did not seem to be the culprit, because people who drank decaffeinated coffee had the same risk of death as people who drank the real stuff. That left more than 1,000 other components of coffee to consider. A daunting task, and one that was not funded by the original research grant.
Here is what they do know: people who drink coffee have a lower risk of death from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and infections. People who drank three or more cups of coffee enjoyed about a 10% lower risk of death.
Dr. Freedman stated, "Although we cannot infer a causal relationship between coffee drinking and lower risk of death, we believe these results do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health." That is cautious medical-speak for "we don't know why it works, but it does seem to work."
So think of your health the next time you approach the barista and say, "Make it a vente!"