Despite most evidence suggesting that coffee can be part of a healthy diet, getting that idea into people's heads has proven quite difficult. The idea that there may be risks associated with coffee drinking lingers in the backs of most people’s minds. Despite the reputation, time and time again, large-scale studies confirm that drinking coffee tends to improve your health.
This is excellent news for a world that loves coffee. The International Coffee Organization reports an estimated 9.13 million bags were exported worldwide in October 2016, down slightly from the previous year.
Recently, a new study was published which focused on coffee consumption in the United Kingdom (UK).
Researchers grouped participants by how many cups of coffee they drink per day. Then they crunched the numbers to see if coffee drinkers experienced more deaths than their counterparts during the duration of the study. This is called a measure of all-cause mortality.
If by chance, heavy coffee drinkers reported fewer deaths than did light coffee drinkers, it would indicate that coffee consumption actually protects health. Surprisingly, that is exactly what researchers found.
Data on all-cause mortality from 502,641 participants suggests that the more coffee person regularly drinks, the less likely they are to die from any cause.
The health differences between heavy and light coffee drinkers were not massive but were large enough to be statistically significant. Although the study was observational, and therefore cannot pinpoint coffee as the cause, the research can aid in confirming future studies or in eventually identifying the mechanism directly responsible for improved health.
To uncover exactly why coffee drinkers were better off, researchers looked into what other traits might be associated with high coffee consumption. Things like smoking, body weight, and income were considered.
Researchers found that coffee drinkers tend to be white and male. They also tend to consume more alcohol and are more likely to be former smokers than their counterparts.
Although many previous studies on large, diverse groups of participants corroborate these findings, this study differs in a significant way. This particular study is the first of its kind also to consider genetic variations in caffeine metabolism. Some people have genetic differences that predispose them to caffeine sensitivity. Others metabolize caffeine quickly and need more coffee to produce the same energizing effect. This, researchers think, may be why one person can consume caffeine shortly before bedtime and soundly sleep while others lay awake all night.
An extensive database with genetic information from participants was used as researchers examined health outcomes across genetic variations. They found no difference in results between caffeine sensitive and non-sensitive populations who drank coffee. This means that greater coffee consumption was related to lower all-cause mortality rates across genetic variations.
It’s important to keep in mind that many coffee beverages are loaded with sugar. When selecting your coffee drink, keep any additives, like sugary syrups or milk, in mind. Paying attention to what is in your coffee will assure you are earning the benefits, without taking in empty calories and sugar.
No matter how you get your coffee, rest easy knowing that the data shows you are slightly healthier than your non-caffeinated counterparts.