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Coffee is good for you, coffee is bad for you…people can list contradictory stories all day long. However, most recent research has been pointing to the health benefits of the drink when consumed in moderation. Some researchers claim coffee can do everything from prevent depression in women to make people more likely to find grammatical errors. The latest study by The National Cancer Institute and AARP has found that coffee can be beneficial to older adults, giving them a lower risk of death than those who abstain from the beverage.
Though the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, conducted the study, there was no association found between coffee and cancer. However, NCI reports those who drink coffee were found to be “less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.” Study participants had a lower risk of death from injuries and accidents? Well, I’m no doctor, but I guess you’re less likely to have an accident if you’re alert under the influence of caffeine. While researchers made adjustments for those who smoked or consumed alcohol, researchers still warn that they can’t be sure that drinking coffee actually makes people live longer.
The study followed 400, 000 men and women between the ages of 50 and 71. Participants were asked about their coffee intake only once, at the beginning of the study in 1995-96, via a questionnaire. The study followed the participants until their death or the last day of 2008, whichever happened first.
When compared to non-coffee drinkers, those who drank three or more cups a day had about a 10% lower risk of death. That seems like a lot of coffee for a little decrease in risk. The Mayo Clinic’s staff assures coffee drinkers that 200 to 300 milligrams, or about two to four cups of coffee, is safe for most adults. More than four cups can lead to insomnia, faster heartbeat, stomach upset, and muscle tremors.
Because the study only asked about coffee intake once at study entry, it didn’t take into account any changes in consumption that might have occurred over the 13-year period. The study also didn’t ask about coffee preparation (like espresso, boiled, filtered), so there is no way to know yet whether pressing your own beans or buying instant coffee from a machine have similar results. Researchers also aren’t sure which of the more than 1,000 compounds in the beverage could have the effect on people’s health. While caffeine has been studied the most, this research had similar findings for those who drank caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties.
This study may give you more to feel good about as you sip your morning coffee today, but remember to always keep caffeine in moderation. Drinking 30 cups of coffee per day will not decrease your risk of dying by 100%, so keep it to just a few servings.