Congratulations to this week’s Comment Contest winner — janice m.
Over the years, stories and studies have sometimes praised coffee drinking and other times condemned it.
I’ve always believed that pretty much everything can be good or bad for you depending on how much you consume, how often you consume it, and probably a host of other factors I never cared enough to discover. I figure that if I spend all my time worrying about everything, I’ll be wasting a whole lot of my life that could be better spent enjoying the many and varied things the world has to offer. So when it comes to liquid refreshment, for example, I enjoy my morning coffee without worrying that it might be raising my “bad” cholesterol or blood pressure. I also drink tea — green, white, all kinds — though mostly during the winter. And if I lived there, I’d be one of the folks getting New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg’s panties in a bunch over the evil and hated sugar drinks, which I very occasionally consume.
I just don’t worry about it. One day, I’m going to die of something so I might as well enjoy what time I have as best I can.
What does that have to do with coffee? Well, it turns out, according to a recent study, that my coffee drinking might actually be buying me a little more time to enjoy the other things in life.
Study finds java drinkers live longer
One of life’s simple pleasures just got a little sweeter. After years of waffling research on coffee and health, even some fear that java might raise the risk of heart disease, a big study finds the opposite: Coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer. Regular or decaf doesn’t matter.
The study of 400,000 people is the largest ever done on the issue, and the results should reassure any coffee lovers who think it’s a guilty pleasure that may do harm.
“Our study suggests that’s really not the case,” said lead researcher Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute. “There may actually be a modest benefit of coffee drinking.”
No one knows why. Coffee contains a thousand things that can affect health, from helpful antioxidants to tiny amounts of substances linked to cancer. The most widely studied ingredient — caffeine — didn’t play a role in the new study’s results.
It’s not that earlier studies were wrong. There is evidence that coffee can raise LDL, or bad cholesterol, and blood pressure at least short-term, and those in turn can raise the risk of heart disease.
Even in the new study, it first seemed that coffee drinkers were more likely to die at any given time. But they also tended to smoke, drink more alcohol, eat more red meat and exercise less than non-coffee-drinkers. Once researchers took those things into account, a clear pattern emerged: Each cup of coffee per day nudged up the chances of living longer.
I drink about two cups of coffee a day and though the study indicates drinking more could further decrease my chance of dying at any particular age, I’m going to stick with the beverage I most enjoy for the bulk of my liquid intake — plain old room temperature water.
What about you?
Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how many 8-ounce cups a day?
Will this study tempt you to drink more?
And if you don’t drink coffee, will the results of this study tempt you to give it a try?