Your mug of coffee may just have become sweeter, with news that it might be good for you, after all.
The great sacrifice you have been making to avoid enjoying your morning sip due to ‘negative’ health factors may no longer be necessary.
While consumers have often be warned about the beverage, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that frequent coffee drinkers have a lower risk of dying from various diseases.
In a decade-long study of 400,000 men and women aged 50 to 71, the researchers found that as well as being at a lower risk of death overall, regular coffee drinkers were also at lower risk of deaths from heart and respiratory diseases, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and other infections.
Since coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant, drinking it is not generally considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle. However, the beverage is also a rich source of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds.
There have been many inconsistencies in research on the health benefits or disadvantages of coffee, but the researchers indicated that this could be because many coffee drinkers indulge in behaviours associated with poor health.
“Compared with persons who did not drink coffee, coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke cigarettes and consume more than three alcoholic drinks per day,” the study says.
They also eat more red meat and are less likely to engage in exercises. However, coffee drinkers, especially women, were less likely to report having diabetes.
To establish the effects of coffee without the other factors, the researchers controlled for those risks. The data showed that the more coffee a person consumed, the less likely he or she was to die from a number ailments.
Men who drank at least six cups daily were 10 per cent less likely to die than those who didn’t drink any. Women who drank half a dozen cups were 15 per cent less likely to die.
However, the study didn’t prove that coffee was the cause of the lower risk of death. The researchers analysed data from the National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study.