A study conducted over a 40-year period has shown that coffee has numerous benefits to the human body. The study that commenced in 1976 involving some 210,000 people shows that people who take coffee regularly tend to live longer and are less likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases such as diabetes and heart ailments.
According to Professor Frank Hu, one of the researchers at the Harvard Medical School who joined the study in 1996, the huge amount of data amounting to 4.7 million human-years of data was useful due to the fact that coffee is a unique and complicated drink containing hundreds, if not thousands of compounds that are bioactive. ‘This makes it difficult to capture the effects of each individual chemical or compound’, Hu added.
More Benefits for Non-Smokers
The effects of drinking coffee are more clear and stronger among people who do not smoke, the study shows. Mortality rate is 8% to 15% less among non-smokers based on how much coffee they take. The study shows that there is no clear correlation between smoking and taking coffee because most coffee drinkers are more likely to take red meat, beer and smoke. The study does not show whether people who take black coffee with sugar or cream reap similar benefits. All in all, Professor Hu says, ‘the study contains great news for coffee drinkers because it provides strong evidence that drinking coffee can produce good health outcomes.’
Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee work
Health benefits that coffee offers are derived from the effects of different minerals, compounds and antioxidants found in the beverage. According to researchers, the cutoff for daily intake seems to be about 5 cups per day. The team found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee using coffee makers with inbuilt grinder has health benefits. However the effects of smoking are not offset by heavy coffee intake. Generally, the study linked a regular coffee intake of 5 cups to lower mortality rates. Professor Hu was quick to note that drinking coffee is not a strategy for preventing chronic ailments because it depends on individual behavior and there are factors in one’s diet that could have bigger effects.
‘People should pay attention to the quantities of sugar in their coffee as that could cause problems too’, Hu said.