Coffee May be Good for You

Data from a major pair of studies, the Nurse’s Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, have turned up evidence that coffee may reduce the risks of death. The two studies together have tracked 86,214 female nurses for 24 years, and 41,736 male veterinarians, pharmacists, and other health workers for 18 years. Every two years the volunteers answered detailed questions about a variety of health habits including coffee consumption, smoking, weight, exercise habits, etc. After accounting for the fact that coffee drinkers tended to have less healthy lifestyles, the data showed that women drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day had 25% lower death rate from heart disease and an 18% lower risk of death from all causes compared with other equally unhealthy peers. These stats held regardless of whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. One of the difficulties in examining the data were the fact that so many coffee drinkers were also smokers. It is premature, the researchers say, to start guzzling coffee for health benefits, but the fact that it may have health benefits is not too far-fetched because of all the antioxidants in coffee. Other studies have had mixed results. Some have linked coffee consumption with heart disease and cancers, but these other studies did not factor out the other stresses placed on the body by the other unhealthy habits that coffee drinkers often have (e.g. smoking). Coffee may have gotten a bad reputation simply by association. The researchers emphasized that most participants in the studies from which the data came were tracked in the late 80’s and 90’s and drank mostly drip coffee. The health effects of coffee might be dependant on how it is made. Source: Science News. July 5, 2008.

Make mine a latte.