LOS ANGELES — Good news, coffee lovers: the secret to a longer life could lie in having a steaming cup of joe in the morning, a new study finds.
Researchers at USC pulled data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, which illustrates health habits going back to 1992, to analyze how coffee-drinking habits correlate to health outcomes.
In all, more than 185,000 individuals were examined through the data used by the researchers.
The data’s analysis showed that all racial groups— whites, Asians, African Americans, and Hispanics — had a 12 percent lower incidence of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, respiratory problems, or kidney disease when they drank one cup of coffee a day.
This decrease in mortality was even greater — 18 percent — for those who drank two to three cups a day.
“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” says V. Wendy Setiawan, senior author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine, in a university news release. “If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”
While noting that positive outcomes were seen for both decaf and non-decaf drinkers, the researchers weren’t able to confirm that the relationship between improved health and coffee consumption was causal — the two factors could merely be correlated.
Still, this study is groundbreaking in that “until now, few data have been available on the association between coffee consumption and mortality in nonwhites in the United States and elsewhere,” the researchers say, noting that disease risk and incidence varies amongst different ethnic groups.
In recent years, numerous studies have shown the broad benefits of drinking coffee, after decades of belief that its consumption led to adverse health outcomes.
Detractors had included bodies as big as the World Health Organization.
Ultimately, the rumors that “it might increase the risk of heart disease, stunt growth or lead to stomach ulcers and heartburn,” simply aren’t true, says V. Wendy Setiawan, the study’s senior author.
While coffee is safe, it’s still best to avoid drinking coffee too hot, the researchers warn, as consuming boiling liquids can lead to cancer in the esophagus.
Further research is planned in looking into how coffee increases the risk of developing specific cancers.
The study’s findings were published this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.