Two new studies found that those who drink the most coffee are less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and strokes, compared to others who drink less coffee or none at all. The studies’ nearly three-quarters of a million participants were followed for over 16 years and included people of several ethnic groups. The studies were published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers noted that their studies don’t mean coffee itself prevents people from dying, as more research would be needed to make such a statement.

Image Credit: Crema Coffee co.
Image Credit: Crema Coffee co.

One of the studies showed that people who drink at least one daily cup of coffee were 12 percent less likely to die of diseases like cancer or heart disease, while the percentage rose to 18 percent if people drank two to three cups per day.

Drinking three cups of coffee daily reduces risk of death from several diseases

The researchers noted that the results were the same whether participants drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, which implies that caffeine is not responsible for the decreased risk of death.

“It’s premature that people start consuming coffee to improve health outcomes,” told Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, who was not involved in the studies, to Reuters. “However, if they do so, they should probably do it without a lot of concern. I think for some people it’s going to put their minds at ease.”

In one of the studies, a group of researchers from the University of Southern California found that an increased coffee consumption was associated with lower risk for death in both white and non-white populations.

Among the findings, the researchers said that two or three cups of coffee a day were associated with a 21 percent decreased risk of death due to heart disease, 8 percent decrease due to cancer, 27 percent decrease due to stroke, 23 percent decrease due to diabetes, 10 percent due to respiratory disease, and 41 percent decrease due to kidney disease.

Image Credit: iStock Photo
Apparently, coffee reduces the risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, and kidney disease. Image Credit: iStock Photo

Furthermore, the findings were applicable across all cultures involved in the study, including African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Native Hawaiians, Latinos, and whites. That study, called the Multiethnic Cohort Study, was conducted by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine.

“This study is the largest of its kind and includes minorities who have very different lifestyles,” said Veronica Setiawan, lead author of the new study, according to Gizmodo. “Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American, Latino or Asian.”

Coffee is linked to a reduced risk of death from digestive disease in both men and women

In the second study, the researchers analyzed data collected over a period of 16 years involving 521,330 participants living in 10 European countries. The researchers noted there were 41,693 deaths over that period.

Men who drank the most coffee were 12 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of the study, compared to men who didn’t drink as much or at all. Women who drank the most coffee, on the other hand, were 7 percent less likely to die during the period of study than women who didn’t drink any.

Co-lead author of the study Neil Murphy, from the Inter Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, said that while drinking patterns were very different from country to country, the team saw a consistent relationship.

Researchers found that coffee was linked to a reduced risk of death from digestive diseases in both men and women, as well as a decreased risk of death from cerebrovascular and circulatory disease among women. However, they noted that women who drank the most coffee had an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer.

“A lot more research is needed to tease apart what it is in coffee that might be having these effects,” Murphy told Reuters.

Coffee –without cream and sugar- can be part of a healthy diet

A third study published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that moderate coffee intake can be part of a healthy diet. The study was conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University’s School of Public Health and School of Medicine.

The researchers noted that in the United States, about 75 percent of adults drink coffee, and 50 percent drink it daily. They found that coffee has different bioactive substances that can be beneficial in a healthy diet. However, they warned that adding sugar, cream, or cream substitutes adds many calories to the diet and might not be as beneficial.

Lichtenstein agreed with that remark and said that the overall results of the studies can be caused because people who drink coffee often refuse other drinks with a lot of calories, such as apple juice. But, she also warned that doesn’t apply if people add a lot of sugar and cream.

Source: Reuters