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Drinking Coffee May Lower Risk of Death From Range of Ailments

A recent study from researchers at Harvard suggests that drinking moderate amounts of coffee per day may lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type-2 diabetes, and suicide.


For this study, researchers examined data from the Nurses’ Health Study (74,890 participants), the Nurses Health Study 2 (93,054 participants), and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (40,557 participants). The researchers determined coffee intake via validated food questionnaires that they administered every four years for up to 30 years. During the follow-up period, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died.


After examining the data, the researchers found an association between drinking one to five cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee and a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type-2 diabetes, and suicide. They found no association with risk of dying from cancer.


The researchers also found that people who drank coffee more often were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol. As a result, the researchers re-analyzed the data to include only people who never smoked. They found the protective qualities of coffee were even more pronounced.


The researchers stated that bioactive compounds found in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systemic inflammation.  They believe these compounds are probably responsible for the results seen in their study, but cautioned that more studies are needed to investigate the mechanisms behind these effects.


The study was published online ahead of print on November 16, 2015, in the journal Circulation.


The health benefits associated with coffee are generally attributed to the powerful antioxidants found in coffee called polyphenols. These benefits include reducing the risk of developing diabetes, prostate cancer, cirrhosis and oral cavities.


One note to coffee drinkers: be careful how you take your coffee. A double latte with whipped cream and three sugars may provide the health benefits seen here, but the high fat and sugar content can have other negative effects.

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