By Gilda Morales, ANP, DC
Today’s column deals with recent findings which seem to point to health benefits that result from coffee intake.
According to HealthDay News, drinking coffee might help you live a little longer, two new studies suggest.
Researchers found that daily coffee drinkers were up to 18 percent less likely to die over the next 10 to 16 years, versus non-drinkers.
The findings — based on over 700,000 middle-aged and older adults — add to the growing list of benefits linked to moderate coffee drinking.
Studies have already tied the habit to lower risks of various diseases — from heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to liver cancer, to neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
None of those studies, however prove that coffee, per se, provides the benefit.
And it’s unlikely that doctors will start recommending coffee as some sort of elixir, according to Veronica Setiawan, the senior researcher on one of the studies.
“But if you’ve always been a coffee drinker,” she said, “there’s no reason to stop.”
That runs counter to the common belief that coffee drinking is a bad habit — a belief the evidence does not bear out, according to Setiawan.
“Moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle,” said Setiawan. She’s an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
For their study, Setiawan and colleagues used data on nearly 186,000 middle-aged and older Americans of all races.
That’s important, Setiawan said, because past studies on coffee and life span have mainly included white people.
At the study’s start, in the 1990s, people reported on their diet and lifestyle habits, including coffee drinking. During the next decade, more than 58,000 study participants died.
It turned out that coffee drinkers had somewhat better survival odds. Those who downed one to three cups a day were 12 to 18 percent less likely to die, versus non-drinkers.
And the pattern was consistent across racial groups — including whites, blacks, Latinos and Japanese-Americans, the study found.
So, DRINK UP!