Drinking a cup or a few cups of coffee a day ? Is coffee bad or good on your health in the long run ? Up until now, there were some mixed opinions on the subject – some studies claimed coffee can improve your health and lower the risk of premature death while others claimed that coffee (caffeine) can be a negative factor for your health and can contribute to heart disease through negative effects on blood pressure, resting heart rate and cholesterol.
A new study, and the largest one of its kind to date , shows that coffee not only will NOT harm your health, but it may help in lowering the risk of heart disease.
In the new study, the researchers from the National Institutes of Health, followed close to half million healthy people between the ages of 50 and 71, during which 13% percent of the participants died.
Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from a heart disease than the non-coffee drinkers during the time the study was conducted and the larger the quantities of coffee they drank the lower their risk of mortality tended to be. In other words, those who drank six or more cups of coffee a day were 10 to 15 percent less likely to die than those who drank only one cup or the non-drinkers.The risk of mortality was lowered even in diseases such as diabetes, lung diseases, pneumonia, stroke and different infections, not just heart disease.
“There has been some concern that coffee might increase the risk of death, and this provides some reassurance against that worry,” says Neal D. Freedman, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an investigator with the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute, in Rockville, Maryland.
“And even the researchers considered a wide range of factors, such as diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, body mass and marital status, it’s still possible that people who drink coffee differ from the rest of the population in as-yet unidentified ways that make them less vulnerable to disease and early death” – says Susan Fisher, Ph.D., chair of community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, New York.
” It might not specifically be the coffee,” Fisher further explains. “It might be some characteristic of the coffee drinker.”
“Still, it’s reasonable that coffee drinking actually improves health. Coffee contains some 1,000 compounds, many of which are health-promoting antioxidants” – Freedman says. “There’s some data showing that some of these components may prevent insulin resistance and have a role in diabetes,” he says.