Harvard Researchers May Have Discovered Evidence of Coffee’s Lifesaving Properties

Coffee cup and coffee beans on old wooden backgroundDo you find yourself fighting the urge to grab another cup of coffee in the morning? It might be time to give in — not just to satisfy your coffee craving, but also because it could help your health in long run.

New research from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, published in the academic journal Circulation on Nov. 16, suggests that consuming a moderate amount of coffee could lower the risk for death caused by type 2 diabetes, heart disease, neurological disease, and even suicide.

The research involved data collections from three different studies that involved approximately 93,000 women and 45,000 men in the U.S., Tech Times reported.

Researchers first looked at the possibility of a direct relationship between coffee consumption and death rates by comparing data from individuals who drank less than one cup of coffee a day against those who drank at least three cups a day. As CNN described it, the findings were “murky” and only suggested that individuals who drink coffee have a 5-9% lower risk of dying compared to those who consume none at all.

However, when the research team removed data that came from smokers and only looked the data provided by people who stated they never smoked, there was a clear difference: those who drank less than one cup of coffee per day had a 6-8% lower risk of dying than non-coffee drinkers, while those who drank at least three cups per day had a 12-15% lower risk.

Ming Ding, a doctoral student at Harvard involved in the study, stated that it seems possible that the benefits of coffee would be cancelled out by cigarettes, and this was what skewed the correlation in the first analysis.

Ding also stated that, according to the data, coffee drinkers tend to consume less soda and/or have healthier diets overall, as compared to those who do not drink coffee. Furthermore, because the data showed that caffeine doesn’t play a role in the benefits of coffee consumption, certain chemicals including lignans and chlorogenic acid likely play a big role in reducing inflammation and regulating blood sugar.

As for the mental health aspect of coffee consumption, the data suggests that people who drink at least one cup a day have 20-36% lower rates of suicide than non-coffee drinkers; researchers are still not sure, however, if this correlation is caused by the chemicals in coffee or by the tendency to lead different lifestyles.

Adding an extra cup of joe each day isn’t the best idea for every individual, regardless of whether they even like the taste of coffee or not; because coffee acts as a stimulant and a diuretic, it can increase the risk of anxiety and dehydration. The estimated eight million Americans who suffer from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) would probably find that coffee worsens their symptoms, as would those who suffer from anxiety and panic disorders.

It’s clear that more research is needed before any concrete conclusions can be made on the possible benefits of coffee, but in the meantime, maybe grabbing that second (or third) cup isn’t such a bad idea!

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