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Moderate Coffee Intake = Lower Mortality Risk for Certain Conditions

by Sandy Todd Webster on Feb 18, 2016

Food for Thought

The comforting morning ritual of drinking coffee just became even more soothing.

Research shows that those who drink about 3–5 cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink coffee or who drink less, according to a study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes and suicide.

“Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” said lead author Ming Ding, MD, ScD, a doctoral student in the department of nutrition. “That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”

Researchers analyzed health data gathered from participants in three large ongoing studies: 74,890 women in the Nurses’ Health Study; 93,054 women in the Nurses’ Health Study 2; and 40,557 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Coffee drinking was assessed using validated food questionnaires every 4 years over about 30 years. During the study period, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died from a range of causes.

In the whole study population, moderate coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk of death from CVD, diabetes, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, and suicide. Coffee consumption was not associated with cancer deaths. The analyses took into consider- ation potential confounding factors such as smoking, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption and other dietary factors.

“This study provides further evidence that moderate consumption of coffee may confer health benefits in terms of reducing premature death due to several diseases,” said senior author Frank Hu, MD, PhD, MPH, professor of nutrition and epidemiology. “These data support the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Report, which concluded that ‘moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern.’”

The study appeared online in Circulation on November 16, 2015.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.