For those of us that struggle to peel ourselves out of bed each morning, coffee is truly the bringer of life.
Our morning cappuccino gives us the strength to get dressed, while (several) lattes help us survive our post-lunch slump.
But besides putting a spring in our step, our coffee habit could quite literally be making us live for longer as a new study presented at the European Cardiac Society Congress 2017 found that guzzling lots of the stuff could have a significant impact on our life expectancy.
Researchers at Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, observed around 20,000 participants in their mid-30s for ten years on average starting from 1999.
At the beginning of the study, the women and men completed a questionaire about their coffee consumption, lifestyle, physical measurements, sociodemographic characteristics and previous health conditions.
For the ten years following, the researchers gathered information on their mortality through participants, their families, postal authorities and National Death Index. During the ten year period, 337 of the participants died.
But the scientists found that those who drank at least four cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of mortality than those who didn’t drink (or barely ever drank) coffee.
And there was a 22% lower risk of mortality for each two additional cups drank per day.
Looking into whether sex, age or following a Mediterranean diet came into play in the results at all, they found a link between coffee consumption and age.
In those that were at least 45 years old, drinking two additional cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30% lower risk of mortality – while in younger participants, the association wasn’t significant.
“We found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above,” said Dr. Adela Navarro, the study’s co-author and a cardiologist, told the European Society of Cardiology.
“This may be due to a stronger protective association among older participants.”
She concluded: “Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.”
But is it really a good idea to take this advice? Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study suggests there may be an association between drinking coffee and living longer, but it doesn’t prove a causal link or explain how coffee might be having this effect.
“Coffee drinkers should certainly not rest on their laurels. The best way to minimise your risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death is to concentrate on an overall healthy lifestyle – eat a balanced diet, stay active and don’t smoke – rather than lining up the lattes.”
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