Wake up and smell the coffee: Older individuals who drink a few cups of coffee each day may be less likely to die over the next 14 years than their non-coffee-drinking peers, according to a study in NEJM.
For the study, NIH researchers surveyed 400,000 adults ages 50 to 71 on their nutrition habits in 1995 and 1996. Using data from national and state disease and death registries from 1995 to 2008, they found that:
- Men who drank two to six cups of coffee daily were about 10% less likely to die than men who drank no coffee during the 14-year study; and
- Women who drank two to six cups of coffee daily were 16% less likely to die than women who drank no coffee during the study.
In particular, coffee was tied to a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, infections, injuries, and accidents.
However, researchers could not identify the ingredients in java, exactly, that were tied to a longer life. "We know that coffee has an effect on the brain, so it's possible that may play a role," lead researcher Neal Freedman says. "Or, it may have an effect on bone health,"
Moreover, the researchers note that the study had several limitations. For example, the researchers only assess coffee consumption in the mid-1990s, but the participants habits may have changed over the 14-year period (Lies, Reuters, 5/16; Parker-Pope, New York Times, 5/16; Mozes, HealthDay, 5/16).