Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm going to live forever: part CLVII in a continuing series

Having your coffee and enjoying it too

When smoking and many other factors known to influence health and longevity were taken into account, coffee drinkers in the study were found to be living somewhat longer than abstainers. Further, the more coffee consumed each day — up to a point, at least — the greater the benefit to longevity.
The observed benefit of coffee drinking was not enormous — a death rate among coffee drinkers that was 10 percent to 15 percent lower than among abstainers. But the findings are certainly reassuring, and given how many Americans drink coffee, the numbers of lives affected may be quite large.

Coffee drinkers who were relatively healthy when the study began were less likely than nondrinkers to die of heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, injuries and accidents.
The risk of death gradually dropped as the number of cups the participants drank increased to four or five. At six cups or more each day, there was a slight rise in death risk, compared with that at four or five cups. But the chances of death remained lower than among people who drank no coffee.

Even though coffee can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, the new study, like those before it, found the risk of heart disease to be lower among otherwise healthy coffee drinkers. Other benefits suggested by recent studies include a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, liver disease andParkinson’s disease. Some research has found a reduced risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among coffee drinkers.
People who engage in strenuous physical activities can also benefit, but only if their coffee contains caffeine, which helps muscles use fatty acids for energy and blunts the effect of adenosine, extending the time before muscles fatigue. Post-exercise soreness is also reduced and recovery time shortened.