Drinking Coffee Linked to Reduced Risk of Death

People who drink moderate amounts of coffee every day may have a lower risk of death from heart disease or type 2 diabetes, according to the American Heart Association.

A new study found that less than 5 cups of coffee per day is linked to live-saving benefits - whether the coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated. Researchers suggest the naturally occurring compounds in coffee beans are responsible for the health perks.

"Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation," said Dr. Ming Ding, the study's first author and doctoral student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "They might be responsible for the inverse association between coffee and mortality. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects."

The findings are based on data from over 200,000 men and women in three large studies.

Part of a healthy, balanced diet

Previous studies on coffee suggest conflicting findings, but mostly skew toward the idea that moderate coffee consumption offers more health benefits than risks. Some research suggests coffee can even protect against liver disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and Parkinson's disease.

The current study found that coffee drinkers are also more likely to smoke and drink alcohol. When researchers accounted for these factors, they found that people who had never smoked experienced even more significant protective benefits from coffee.

"Regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet," said senior author Frank Hu, M.D. "However, certain populations such as pregnant women and children should be cautious about high caffeine intake from coffee or other beverages."

The study is published in the journal Circulation.

Source: American Heart Association

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