According to a study published in Circulation, people who regularly drink moderate amounts of coffee daily (less than five cups per day) have a lower risk of deaths from cardiovascular disease. The study also found that moderate coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of deaths from Type 2 diabetes and neurological diseases.
Using data from three large ongoing studies (74,890 women in the Nurses’ Health Study; 93,054 women in the Nurses’ Health Study 2; and 40,557 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study), Ming Ding (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, USA) and colleagues assessed coffee drinking every four years using validated food questionnaires and followed participants for up to 30 years. They found that, in general, people who frequently drank coffee were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol. To separate the effects of coffee from smoking, Ding et al repeated their analysis among never-smokers, and found that the protective benefits of coffee on deaths became even more evident.
The benefit also held true for drinking caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, which suggests it is not just the caffeine providing health perks but possibly the naturally occurring chemical compounds in the coffee beans. Ding says: “Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation. They might be responsible for the inverse association between coffee and mortality.”
Previous studies have found inconsistent associations between coffee drinking and risk of total and cause-specific death. This study adds to the literature that moderate coffee consumption may confer health benefits, but Ding notes: “More studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”