Coffee drinkers likelier to live longer

Washington: Drinking coffee might help you live longer, a new study has suggested.

Results of the study show that death rates over a 13-year period among men and women who drank coffee decreased with a greater number of cups per day, up to six.

The trend was seen for deaths from any cause, and from specific causes such as heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke and diabetes.

This relationship, however, was not seen for those who died of cancer.

“We observed associations between coffee-drinking and a range of different causes of death, and across a number of different groups,” Discovery news quoted Neal Freedman, lead author of the study from National Institutes of Health, as saying.

“The effect was seen in both men and women, those of different body weights, and in both former and never smokers,” he said.

The study showed an association, not a direct cause-effect relationship, between coffee and mortality rates.

Still, while high coffee consumption was previously thought to have adverse health effects, this study adds to the growing body of recent findings that show higher coffee consumption is not harmful, and in some cases may have health benefits, said Jeanine Genkinger, an epidemiology professor at the Columbia University School of Public Health in New York City, who was not involved in the research.

Genkinger emphasized that the greatest benefits may come from black coffee — cream, sugar and additives may be detrimental to health.

For the study, researchers looked at the coffee drinking habits of 402,260 members of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Participants completed a detailed dietary, lifestyle and demographic questionnaire at the study’s start, when they were between ages 50 and 71. During the study, 52,515 participants died.

The association between drinking coffee and mortality was seen among different races and education levels, and in a very large group with a large number of deaths — this type of analysis was not done in previous studies, said Esther Lopez-Garcia, of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain.

The new study also removed the possibility of smoking and alcohol as confounding factors, said Edward Giovannucci, a nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

The study will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine.