Enjoy that morning cup of coffee
I’ve been a coffee drinker my entire adult life.
A couple cups of coffee in the morning make me more alert and ready to start the day.
And I enjoy hanging out in coffee shops and inhaling the fragrance of freshly-ground beans.
Over the years there have been many small studies showing coffee in moderation can be good for you.
More recently a HUGE prospective cohort study (following individuals over time) showed that the group who drank coffee were healthier than those who didn’t.
The study ran for 10 years and followed almost 500,000 coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers.
Findings This large prospective cohort study of a half million people found inverse associations for coffee drinking with mortality, including among participants drinking 1 up to 8 or more cups per day.
Meaning This study provides further evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers.
“Inverse association” means that the more coffee a participant drank, up to 8 cups a day, the less likely they were to die over the study’s duration. About 10-15% less likely.
And it didn’t matter if the coffee was ground, instant or decaf.
There are thousands of chemical compounds in coffee, including antioxidants, so it’s one or more of those chemicals, not caffeine, that provide the health benefits of coffee.
Move evidence in favor of coffee
Overall, drinking 2-8 cups of coffee a day is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
If you want to know more about coffee’s many health benefits, check out this video made by physician-vlogger Aaron Carroll, MD.
Anyone who is sensitive to caffeine jitters or has sleep issues needs to be careful about that. But because coffee’s health effects aren’t linked to caffeine, decaf coffee should provide the same positive benefits.
And keep in mind that nutritional studies that are dependent on participants filling out questionnaires completely and honestly are notoriously difficult to interpret accurately.
While the health benefits of coffee seem clear, if modest, there is no compelling reason to become a coffee drinker or increase the number of cups you drink per day.