There's New Evidence That Coffee Drinkers Live Longer

It may take that first cup of coffee in the morning for you to feel fully alive, but a consistent java intake may actually be helping to keep you living longer. That's at least according to two huge new studies, both of which suggest that people who drink more coffee (even decaf!) may be at a lower risk of developing deadly diseases or conditions like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

To that we say: bring on the cold brew.

Both studies were published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The first, from a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute, University of Southern California, and the University of Hawaii, looked at the coffee drinking habits of over 185,000 Americans across all race and ethnicity types -- for an average of 16.2 years apiece. They found that, compared to the 16% of people who didn't drink coffee at all within the researched group, those who did were less likely to have died during the study period.

Specifically, they found that people who drank two or more cups a day were 18% less likely to die, while people who only gulped modestly -- between one and six cups per week -- were 12% less likely to die. All in all, they determined that the more coffee one drank, the less likely they were to die from a majority of the 10 leading causes of death in the US, including heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes or kidney disease. 

The second study looked at over 500,000 people from 10 different European countries, each of whom were also followed for roughly 16 years. Similarly, it found that the top 25% of coffee drinkers in each country were less likely to die during the period they were being followed than their counterparts who abstained. In terms of hard figures, the researchers determined that the chance of early death was 12% lower for men, and 7% for men.

As the researchers point out, it's not a total surprise that coffee may help reduce the risk of certain diseases, since it contains a number of compounds that function as antioxidants and can help influence things like blood pressure and liver function. However, lest you begin trumpeting the studies as justification for your outrageous 10-cup-a-day habit, the authors are also quick to point out that neither study suggests drinking coffee causes one to live longer, and insist that consuming in moderation is important. That said, dousing yourself with some caffeine in the form of a cup of joe every morning (and late morning... and afternoon...) may not be the worst habit to keep up.

h/tFood & Wine, LA Times

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.