Coffee Makes You Live Longer
May 17, 2012

Coffee Makes You Live Longer

Michael Harper for

Stand proud, coffee drinkers. Though your teeth may be stained and your co-workers may shoot off-glances your way as you head for your fourth cup, you can stand proud and confident in the fact that you´ll probably outlive each of your detractors.

At least, that´s what a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found.

Coffee, even decaf coffee, may extend the lives of those who drink it every day.

Men who drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee every day extended their chances of outliving those who skip on the Joe by 10%. Women, on the other hand, stand to extend their lives by 13% if they have a few cups a day.

This caffeinated study, performed by the National Cancer Institute is the largest of its kind comparing coffee drinkers to non-coffee drinkers to determine if the drink can ward off such ailments as heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory illness. According to Dr. Neal Freedman, the study´s lead author, it is still unclear why coffee is more beneficial to women than it is to men. According to Bloomberg, Dr. Freedman may have to conduct even more research to understand why. Darn the luck.

These new results “offer a little bit of reassurance to coffee drinkers who like drinking coffee that it won´t affect health,” said Freedman, an investigator at the NCI´s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics in Rockville, Maryland.

“It doesn´t seem to increase one´s risk of dying.”

While the study certainly comes as good news for those ardent coffee drinkers, Dr. Freedman still says they need to perform more research to understand exactly why.

“The association between coffee and mortality has been unclear,” the good doctor said. “This is an observational study so we don´t know for certain coffee is having a cause and effect.”

"However, we can speculate about plausible mechanisms by which coffee consumption might have health benefits,” Dr. Freedman writes in his study.

Looking into our cups, maybe there´s something magical and microscopic floating around which gives us the power of longer life. Or maybe it´s the caffeine?

"Coffee contains more than 1000 compounds that might affect the risk of death,” says Dr. Freedman.

"The most well-studied compound is caffeine, although similar associations for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee in the current study and a previous study suggest that, if the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality were causal, other compounds in coffee (e.g. antioxidants, including polyphenols) might be important.”

It´s likely coffee drinkers have already gone to have another cup for their health.

As for women, those who consumed 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower chance of suffering from heart disease, a 21% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease, a 7% smaller chance of suffering a stroke and a whopping 23% lower risk of dying from diabetes.

What´s more, the study also showed those heavy drinkers – men or women who drink 6 or more cups a day – can lower these risks even further.

So go boldly to the coffee shop, friends. Drink with vigor, one arm akimbo, confident in your future long-life. Just watch out for cars on the way home. As it turns out, coffee can´t actually save you from traffic accidents.