Health

Live Longer with Latte

New study is grounds to enjoy your cup of coffee even more

Trying to keep up with all of the latest coffee studies is a real grind — but there’s a new one that’s standing out among the crowd.

It suggests that drinking a moderate amount of coffee may extend your life. The study is the largest of its kind and is reported in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

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The senior author of the study, Dr. Frank Hu, agrees the more we learn about coffee, the better it seems to be for us.

“There was already a lot of evidence that coffee may be beneficial for reducing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Hu told LifeZette. “So we wanted to look at the data.”

Related: Jump for Java

That data found that people who drank moderate amounts of coffee daily — less than 5 cups per day — had a lower risk of death from heart disease, neurological diseases, Type 2 diabetes and suicide.

Coffee drinking reduced mortality from heart disease, neurological diseases, Type 2 diabetes and suicide.

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Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, said one of the reasons this study is significant is its size. Researchers analyzed information from more than 200,000 people. The findings are based on data from three large ongoing studies — the two Nurses’ Health Studies and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The participants have been followed for 20 to 30 years.

Regardless of what the evidence shows, though, understanding coffee and its effect on health is important.

“Coffee is perhaps the most widely consumed beverage in the U.S. population and probably in many parts of the world,” Hu said.

The fact this study suggests moderate coffee drinking could extend your life is great news for Monina Wagner, a high-energy single mother and social-media manager for a marketing company in northeast Ohio.

Related: Cup of Joe vs. Cup of Jane

“This study is the perfect excuse for me to continue drinking my coffee,” Wagner told LifeZette.

But she admits it would take a lot to turn her against her favorite beverage.

“It seems there’s always research that reports the benefits of it, then the next week there’s a study telling us not to drink it,” she said. “I will keep drinking my coffee no matter what any study says.”

Wagner enjoys her three cups a day for the taste, but like many coffee lovers, she appreciates the energy boost she gets from the caffeine.

Somewhat surprisingly, it’s not the caffeine that’s behind coffee’s most recent good reviews, Hu said. Researchers found the same benefits associated with decaffeinated coffee.

Related: Small Coffee is Big Business

The next step, Hu said, will be to figure out exactly what it is in coffee that’s providing the health benefits.

While good news for coffee drinkers, this study is not a reason to start drinking coffee, or to run out and order three pumpkin spice lattes a day, Hu warned.

“The bottom line here is that regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy diet along with healthful behaviors such as not smoking, regular exercise and eating a generally healthy and balanced diet,” he said.

Hu has another warning. Pregnant women and young people should be careful about ingesting large amounts of caffeine from coffee or other sources.

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