It’s no wonder we’ve been confused about coffee. For every expert that claims caffeine is harmful, there’s always another waiting to extol the health benefits. Now, though, a new study could finally have put the controversy to bed.
Scientists collected data from over half a million people over the age of 35 across ten European countries to analyse how coffee consumption affects the risk of dying. The results were published in the journal Annuals of Internal Medicine.
Experts from Imperial College London and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) discovered that people who drank more coffee also lowered their risk of dying from all courses but in particular from diseases of the digestive tract and circulation system.
Dr Marc Gunter of the IARC, lead author on the paper, said: “We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases. Importantly, these results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs.” He added that as well as helping to provide data for conclusions the study also offered insights into how the health benefits were achieved.
The study assessed the diets and lifestyles of the volunteers via interviews and questionnaires, collecting data such as whether participants smoked, drank and ate meat. After 16 years, over 40,000 people participating in the study had died from various conditions. After the data had been adjusted for other factors such as smoking, researchers discovered that the group that drank the most coffee were at the lowest risk of dying from all causes. Men who drank at least three cups of coffee daily saw an 18% reduction in risk, with women seeing an 8% reduction. Researchers are continuing to investigate how the compounds in coffee are beneficial.
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