It’s official – coffee IS good for you

Drink coffee and live longer >  As children we were told an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but the new well-being c11zmantra is that coffee will give you health and longevity. We were reminded of this advice following our last Posting, when a client emailed to say caffeine is the ingredient needed to live longer.

But is drinking coffee the real secret for longevity?  Claims that caffeine has health benefits are nothing new, with numerous research papers advocating its use.  For example, a few years ago the New England Journal of Medicine reported rather pompously that there seems to be an “inverse association between coffee drinking and total and cause-specific mortality.” In layman’s terms this means scientists looked at individuals over a period of time and c2ssnoticed an association between drinking coffee and a longer life. However, because this was only an observational study*, the researchers added, “Whether this was a causal or an associational finding cannot be determined from our data.” Or in layman’s terms – ‘it is anyone’s guess‘!

Meanwhile a survey carried out by the Harvard University’s School of Public Health found that non-smokers who drank three to five cups of coffee were 37% less likely to die from a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s, and 36% less likely to die from suicide, compared to non-java drinkers.  However, their researchers warned, “We are not advocating coffee as a strategy for prevention of the chronic diseases because coffee drinking is individual behaviour and there are other factors in the diet that have a bigger effect. People should also be aware of the amount of added sugar to coffee drinks which can become a problem.”  Or basically …. “We don’t know‘!

Other studies are less guarded, with one claiming that coffee decreases the rate of stroke and certain cancers, and lowers the c2cdrisk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Such black and white health claims should ring alarm bells, especially when other researchers are warning that java raises the risk of heart disease.  A quick web search will throw up millions of pages of contradictory research and views, so ultimately believe whatever justifies your lifestyle.

As far as longevity is concerned, there is certainly some wishful thinking going on. As you will need to live longer to read all this research,  we will let you into a secret. Tonic therapists know the real elixir of life – red wine. After all more than 228 million web pages can’t be wrong, can they …..

Footnote  >  * An observational study is where no intervention is introduced, where subjects are not randomised, where researchers just look at the link between an exposure to something and a certain outcome.

14 thoughts on “It’s official – coffee IS good for you

  1. P.K. Smiles says:

    Many of the compounds in coffee are antioxidants that protect our bodies from oxidation, which involves free radicals that damage molecules in the body. Oxidation is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing. Coffee, believe it or not, happens to be the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables. So yup, drink coffe and live longer.

  2. You bet this is wishful thinking. In the research you quote, particular causes of death were looked at and it was found that the coffee drinkers were less likely to die from infections, respiratory disease, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. And yet any such benefit does not appear to be attributable to caffeine, because both decaf and regular coffee had the same effect. There is no proof that coffee contains a miracle cure.

    • well something is going on
      caffeine is a natural component of chocolate, coffee and tea and is added to energy drinks
      if there no benefits how come the international medical community recognises caffeine withdrawal as a medical syndrome

  3. Bin-Dan the coffee man says:

    There is a hidden assumption here that coffee is bad for you. It is a common misconception that caffeine or coffee raises your blood pressure and therefore is bad for the heart. In fact, if you check out the Web you will find that there have been several studies that show how coffee drinking can reduce chances of developing type II diabetes, with numbers as high as a 50% reduction.
    Coffee drinking has also been found to reduce chances of developing Parkinson’s disease particularly in men, plus lowering the chances of developing colorectal cancer. Finally, coffee drinkers reduce their chances of developing liver diseases such as Cirrhosis, and a form of liver cancer called Hepatocellular carcinoma.
    So give credit where it is due.

    • Chas (Porthcawl) says:

      Talk about selective reading! you may be right dan, but for all of your examples i can give you research showing that coffee is bad for you.
      in my opinion, the benefits DO outweigh the negatives, but every individual should decide for himself.

  4. Candy Allan says:

    The processing method matters – filtered coffee has less of some harmful substances, mainly diterpenes, which raise cholesterol levels.
    I also read that it might actually be a good idea to drink coffee for people with a genetic propensity to type II diabetes or Parkinson’s, or for people suffering from Hepatitis.

  5. My friends at Tonic have nothing to worry about! By all means drink all you want without feeling guilty but it will do nothing for your stress. Take note however that the risk of harmful effects does increase with a higher dosage, and that caffeine addiction and caffeine withdrawal symptoms are very real phenomena that can be quite unpleasant for some people.

  6. Jill McCarthy says:

    A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Bold claims indeed but let’s be honest, coffee isn’t proven to prevent those conditions. I also agree that the way the coffee is brewed as well as the quantity consumed can affect the caffeine level.
    Also the British Coffee Association ( http://www.britishcoffeeassociation.org/health ) says its research shows drinking three cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of fatal liver disease by up to 40%. But they would say that, wouldn’t they!

  7. Research also shows that drinking three cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 60%. The Faculty of Medicine in Lisbon, Portugal found that healthy elderly people, with no signs of the brain disease, had consumed an average of three to four cups of coffee a day since the age of 25. These researchers may be exaggerating but it sound very positive to me.

  8. You are reading what you want to read guys. The fact is caffeine acts as a stimulant to the heart and central nervous system. It also known to increase blood pressure in the short-term, although there is no conclusive evidence that there are long-term effects on blood pressure. The effects are most likely when excessive quantities are taken or in highly sensitive people for example, those with high blood pressure / pregnant women.
    However, I do concede that there is no evidence that coffee does any long-term harm. However, caffeine does have a very mild diuretic effect – so it is recommended drinkers have a glass of water afterwards to counteract it.

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