Coffee consumption may prolong life

By Tom Nordlie • Published: November 6th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Coffee drinkers sometimes wonder if the brew is harming their health.

After all, research has linked coffee to heart disease.

But here’s some news to perk you up: A long-term study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine showed coffee consumption reduced the overall risk of death for women.

And for men, it didn’t help, but didn’t hurt.

The study involved more than a quarter-million volunteers. They answered questions about their use of coffee and other caffeinated beverages.

The men were followed for eighteen years, women for twenty-four. During follow-up, about eighteen-thousand of the participants died.

Researchers classified the deceased into six categories, based on coffee consumption. After adjusting for factors such as age and smoking, researchers found that men had roughly the same risk of dying no matter how much coffee they consumed.

For women, the risk of death was lower for coffee quaffers. Those who drank two or three cups a day had an eighteen percent lower death rate than nonconsumers.

Women drinking four or five cups per day had a twenty-six percent lower death rate.

When the data were categorized by cause of death, coffee consumers had lower risk for liver disease and diabetes.

Think caffeine could be the key to these effects? Maybe not.

Decaffeinated coffee was also associated with lower mortality, especially among women.

The scientists said more research is needed to explore coffee’s potential benefits.

So if you’re thinking about drinking more coffee for health’s sake, don’t be a drip.

Talk to your doctor.