Why coffee could reduce risk of death from various causes

More good news for coffee drinkers! According to the latest roundtable report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, consumption of the beverage might be associated with a reduced risk of death.

The report titled “Coffee, caffeine, mortality and life expectancy” was published online on July 31.

Java Junkies

Health experts, academics, and dietitians from across six European countries gathered at the Royal Society of Medicine in London to discuss the latest research on coffee and life expectancy. The event was chaired by Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.

“Data on cause of death and years lived combined with life expectancy data can be a useful way to understand the general population’s health,” Porter said.

The research is needed to guide the formation of health policies and provide people with updated recommendations regarding diet and lifestyles.

“The growing body of research on coffee consumption and all-cause mortality presents new data for consideration, although more evidence is needed to understand the association and mechanisms behind the results,” she added.
One study from the United States found those who drank one cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die compared to those who did not drink any coffee.

The findings of a large, unpublished study were presented by Miguel Martínez-González, professor of nutrition at the University of Navarra in Spain. After examining nearly 20,000 participants who were followed for an average of ten years, drinking 3 to 6 cups of coffee a day was linked to a reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

All-cause mortality is a term describing death from any cause such as illness or disease. An increasing number of studies have explored the health benefits of coffee, with a recent review even suggesting improved heart function.

During the roundtable, delegates discussed possible mechanisms that could explain why coffee may reduce the risk of death from various causes.

It was suggested caffeine may not be the main mechanism at play since studies have found the link even with the consumption of decaffeinated coffee. Among several factors that were considered, the polyphenols found in coffee appeared to be a strong one.

According to the Coffee Association of Canada, antioxidants in coffee are present in the form of polyphenols. Moderate consumption of the drink can provide around 1,300 mg of polyphenol antioxidants every day. The anti-inflammatory effect was also highlighted by the delegates.

“Indeed, previous discussions on the associations with a reduced risk of liver disease and type 2 diabetes have also suggested that an anti-inflammatory effect may be particularly important in these conditions too,” the report stated.

Among the concluding points that were raised, the delegates believed coffee consumption as a part of a healthy diet should be discussed more by medical professionals when speaking to patients. Further research was needed to identify the exact mechanisms to explain the relationship between coffee and all-cause mortality.


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