Research published in the May 17, 2012, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (366 , 1891–1904) shows that coffee consumption may keep the Grim Reaper away for older adults—at least a little bit longer than for noncoffee drinkers.
Older adults who drank coffee—caffeinated or decaffeinated—had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee, according to a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and AARP.
In an NIH press release, researchers reported that the association between coffee and death risk reduction increased with the amount of coffee consumed. Relative to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups of coffee per day had approximately a 10% lower risk of death. Coffee drinking was not associated with cancer mortality among women, but there was a slight and only marginally statistically significant association between heavier coffee intake and increased risk of cancer death among men.
“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk of death has been unclear. We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of different causes,” said lead author Neal D. Freedman, PhD. “Although we cannot infer a causal relationship between coffee drinking and lower risk of death, we believe these results do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health.”
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