Wednesday June 19, 2019

Fresh Grounds for Coffee: Study Shows It May Boost Longevity

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine

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Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois.
Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. (VOA)

Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily.

In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It’s the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine.

Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal.

The results don’t prove your coffee pot is a fountain of youth nor are they a reason for abstainers to start drinking coffee, said Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition expert who was not involved in the research. But she said the results reinforce previous research and add additional reassurance for coffee drinkers.

“It’s hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad,” Lichtenstein said.

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

It’s not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity. Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage.

Other studies have suggested that substances in coffee may reduce inflammation and improve how the body uses insulin, which can reduce chances for developing diabetes. Loftfield said efforts to explain the potential longevity benefit are continuing.

Adam Taylor, fetching two iced coffees for friends Monday in downtown Chicago, said the study results make sense.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Coffee makes you happy, it gives you something to look forward to in the morning,” said Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas.

“I try to have just one cup daily,” Taylor said. “Otherwise I get a little hyper.”

For the study, researchers invited 9 million British adults to take part; 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general U.K. population, the researchers said.

Participants filled out questionnaires about daily coffee consumption, exercise and other habits, and received physical exams including blood tests. Most were coffee drinkers; 154,000 or almost one-third drank two to three cups daily and 10,000 drank at least eight cups daily.

During the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly of cancer or heart disease.

Caffeine can cause short-term increases in blood pressure, and some smaller studies have suggested that it might be linked with high blood pressure, especially in people with a genetic variation that causes them to metabolize caffeine slowly.

Also Read: What Does Your Coffee Say About You?

But coffee drinkers in the U.K. study didn’t have higher risks than nondrinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolizers had a longevity boost.

As in previous studies, coffee drinkers were more likely than abstainers to drink alcohol and smoke, but the researchers took those factors into account, and coffee drinking seemed to cancel them out.

The research didn’t include whether participants drank coffee black or with cream and sugar. But Lichtenstein said loading coffee with extra fat and calories isn’t healthy. (VOA)

Next Story

Coffee Does Not Pose ‘Significant’ Cancer Risk, Says California

It was the first time the state has declared such a brew of chemicals safe despite the presence of carcinogens

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A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena, Calif., July 25, 2013. VOA

California officially gave its blessing to coffee Monday, declaring the beverage does not pose a “significant” cancer risk. The rule, proposed a year ago by regulators, means coffee won’t have to carry ominous warnings that the beverage may be bad for you.

The state took the rare move after a Los Angeles judge found Starbucks Corp. and other companies failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed risks from a byproduct of the roasting process.

That ruling put the industry in jeopardy of hefty civil penalties and in the position of either developing a process to remove the chemical or warning consumers about the risk of cancer. The chemical in question, acrylamide, is on a list that California says causes cancer, though other groups classify it as a “probable” carcinogen.

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“With this news, coffee drinkers around the world can wake up and enjoy the smell and taste of their coffee without hesitation.” Pixabay

Under a law passed more than three decades ago by California voters, products that contain chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects must warn consumers about those risks.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which implements the law, concluded there was no significant risk after a World Health Organization review of more than 1,000 studies and found inadequate evidence that coffee causes cancer. Further, it concluded coffee reduces the risk of some types of cancer.

“Coffee is a complex mixture of hundreds of chemicals that includes both carcinogens and anti-carcinogens,” said Sam Delson, a spokesman for the agency. “The overall effect of coffee consumption is not associated with any significant cancer risk.”

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It was the first time the state has declared such a brew of chemicals safe despite the presence of carcinogens, Delson said. Pixabay

It was the first time the state has declared such a brew of chemicals safe despite the presence of carcinogens, Delson said. The coffee industry cheered the rule. “This is a great day for science and coffee lovers,” said William Murray, president and chief executive of the National Coffee Association USA. “With this news, coffee drinkers around the world can wake up and enjoy the smell and taste of their coffee without hesitation.”

ALSO READ: Drinking Even 25 Cups of Coffee in a Day Not Bad for Heart, Says Study

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, which successfully sued the coffee industry in a case that has dragged on more than eight years in Los Angeles Superior Court, will challenge the validity of the state’s regulation in court, said attorney Raphael Metzger.

Metzger, who represents the small nonprofit in its lawsuit against Starbucks and about 90 coffee companies, said the regulation was adopted in violation of state law and disregards the statutes the agency is supposed to implement. He said the regulation can’t be applied retroactively to nullify the judge’s ruling. (VOA)