Moment of enjoyment: A new study reveals the unexpected benefits of coffee

That morning cup of coffee may be linked to a lower risk of dying, researchers in a study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine concluded. Those who drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups of coffee a day, even with a teaspoon of sugar, were up to 30 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who didn’t drink coffee. Those who drank this sugar-free beverage were 16 percent to 21 percent less likely to die during the study period, and those who drank about three cups a day had the lowest risk of death compared to those who didn’t drink coffee .

The researchers analyzed coffee consumption data collected from the UK Biobank, a large medical database with health information on people across Britain. They analyzed demographic, lifestyle and nutritional information collected from more than 170,000 people between the ages of 37 and 73 during an average follow-up period of seven years. Mortality risk remained lower for people who drank decaf and caffeinated coffee. The data was inconclusive for those who drank coffee with artificial sweeteners.

The study couldn’t conclusively prove that coffee itself reduces the risk of dying, but instead clarifies that there may be other factors such as the person’s lifestyleFile, Archive

“It’s huge. There are very few things that reduce mortality by 30 percent,” said Dr. Christina Wee, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and deputy editor of the scientific journal where the study was published. Wee edited the study and published a corresponding editorial in the same journal.

However, there are important caveats to interpreting this research, he added. East it’s an observational study, which means the data can’t conclusively prove that coffee itself reduces the risk of dying; there may be other lifestyle factors that contribute to this lower risk of mortality among people who drink coffee, such as a healthy diet or a constant exercise routine.

The average amount of added sugar per cup of sweetened coffee in the study was just over a teaspoon, far less than is typically added to many sugary beverages at coffee chains across the country. A tall Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks, for example, contains 25 grams of sugar, about five times as much sugar as a cup of the study’s sweetened coffee.

“All bets are off when it comes to pairing this with a latte, a Frappuccino, the whipped super mocha, whatever,” said Dr. Eric Goldberg, clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. these drinks they tend to be high in calories and fat, he said, which could negate or at least temper any benefits of the coffee itself.

This new study is the latest in a strong line of research showing possible health benefits of coffee, he said. Previous research has linked coffee consumption to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver and prostate cancer, and other health problems.

Scientists don’t know exactly what makes coffee so beneficial, Dr. Goldberg said, but the answer may lie in its antioxidant properties, which can prevent or delay cell damage. Coffee beans contain high amounts of antioxidants, said Beth Czerwony, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Human Nutrition in Ohio, that can help break down free radicals — molecules with unpaired electrons that can contribute to a variety of diseases. that cause cell damage. Over time, a buildup of free radicals can increase inflammation in the body, which can cause plaque formation linked to heart diseasehe said, which is why dietitians recommend consuming antioxidant-rich foods and beverages.

There is also the possibility that coffee lovers tend to make healthier choices in general. They might opt ​​for a cold beverage or cup of filtered coffee over a less healthy source of caffeine, such as an energy drink or soda, Goldberg added. “If you’re drinking Mountain Dew, Coca-Cola, Red Bull or all these other beverages that have more sugar compared to coffee, which is a whole food.”

The benefits of coffee go beyond its organoleptic characteristics that make it a pleasant drink
The benefits of coffee go beyond its organoleptic characteristics that make it a pleasant drinkpixabay

Despite the encouraging evidence on coffee, There isn’t enough data to suggest that people who don’t currently drink coffee should add a stop to Starbucks during their morning routines.Wee said. And even avid coffee drinkers shouldn’t use the studio to justify endless cups of coffee. The study showed that the benefits of coffee decreased in people who drank more than 4.5 cups of coffee a day. Previous studies have shown that consuming “extreme amounts” — more than seven cups a day — can take a toll, she said.

“Moderation is good,” said Dr. Goldberg. “But too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily better.”

By Dani Blum.