The coffee many of us enjoy may be doing more than helping wake us up in the morning.
A large National Institutes of Health study found older adults who drink coffee were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries, accidents, diabetes and infections.
The study included 400,000 U.S. men and women ages 50-71 who were followed between 1995-1996 and 2008.
Here are some findings:
— The results (adjusted for other risk factors on mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption) weren’t affected by whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated.
— Three or more cups of coffee a day translated to a 10 percent lower risk of death, compared to non-coffee drinking.
— Coffee drinking wasn’t associated with cancer deaths among women, but there was a slight and marginally statistically significant association between heavier coffee drinking and increased risk of cancer death among men.
“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk of death has been unclear. We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of different causes,” Neal Freedman, of the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, said in an NIH written statement. “Although we cannot infer a causal relationship between coffee drinking and lower risk of death, we believe these results do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health.”
Investigators warned coffee drinking was based on self-reporting and information wasn’t available on how the coffee was prepared, which could affect the levels of protective compounds in coffee, according to the NIH release.
The study was published May 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.