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Coffee Drinkers Seem to Live Longer, According to Researchers

"We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association," the study's lead author says

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    Coffee Drinkers Seem to Live Longer, According to Researchers

    Go ahead and order that second cup.

    Studies have found that people who frequently enjoy a cup of joe could live longer lives, according to researchers at the University of Southern California.

    "We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association," said Veronica W. Setiawan, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and lead author of a new study, which will be published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and respiratory and kidney disease for African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites, according to the study that used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study.

    "Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention," Setiawan said. "Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this 'elixir effect,' it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle."

    Don't do caffeine? The study still stands regardless of whether you enjoy regular or decaffeinated coffee.

    People who drink one cup daily were 12 percent less likely to die from these diseases. People who drink up to three cups a day had an 18 percent lower risk of death.

    A separate study of more than 520,000 healthy people in 10 European countries, meanwhile, also found coffee drinkers were associated with lower risk for death, specifically from digestive and circulatory diseases, the "Today" show reported. That study was also published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday. 

    But an editorial in the journal cautioned "it’s 'premature' to recommend that people drink coffee to live longer or prevent disease," the "Today" show reported.

    Coffee drinkers could have other things in common that factor into their health.

    The editorial instead notes at a takeaway that moderate daily coffee intake "is not associated with adverse health effects in adults and can be incorporated into a healthy diet." 

    The Multiethnic Cohort Study, which a team from USC conducted in collaboration with the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, is an ongoing study that proclaims itself as the most ethnically diverse study that examines lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer. It has more than 215,000 participants.

    The study is important because "lifestyle patterns and disease risks can vary substantially across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and findings in one group may not necessarily apply to others."

    But it's safe to say the association applies to other groups, Setiawan said, since it was seen in four different ethnicities.

    "If you like to drink coffee, drink up!" Setiawan said.