Drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee each day (even decaf) could help you live longer

SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS, France — Coffee drinkers, rejoice! A new study has found a new reason to order that second or third cup — it could help you live a longer life. Researchers in Australia have discovered that consuming two to three cups of coffee each day lowers heart disease risk and the risk of death from all causes. The findings applied to a wide range of coffee varieties (our list of the best coffees is here), including ground, decaffeinated, and instant coffees.

“In this large, observational study, ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee were associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” says study author Professor Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute in a media release. “The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Study authors say there has been little research into the impact of various coffee preparation methods on both heart health and longevity. The new report followed a massive group of nearly 450,000 adults between the ages of 40 and 69 from the UK Biobank. All of those individuals were free of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study — which includes a history of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and ischemic stroke.

Nearly half drink instant coffee — and that’s a good thing

These 449,563 people filled out a questionnaire asking how many cups of coffee they drank daily and whether they drank instant, ground (including cappuccino or filtered coffee), or decaffeinated coffee. Researchers grouped the participants into six categories, including non-drinkers, less than one cup a day, one cup, two to three cups, four to five cups, and more than five cups of coffee each day.

The most popular type of coffee was instant (44.1%), followed by ground coffee drinkers (18.4%), and decaffeinated fans (15.2%). The 100,510 people (22.4%) who did not drink coffee served as a control group. The team then compared all of the participants’ coffee drinking habits to incidents of arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease, and death over the next 12.5 years.

Study authors note they also adjusted their results to account for age, sex, ethnicity, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, smoking habits, and tea or alcohol consumption.

The study reveals that two to three cups of any variety of coffee produced the best results in terms of heart health and improved longevity. Compared to people who don’t drink coffee, coffee drinkers experienced a 14, 27, and 11-percent lower risk of death from all causes after consuming decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee, respectively.

Cardiovascular disease risk also dropped by six, 20, and nine percent among participants drinking two to three cups of decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee, respectively.

Decaffeinated coffee did not improve arrhythmia risk

Unlike the other conditions, decaffeinated coffee drinkers did not see any benefit when it comes to their risk for arrhythmias — an irregular heartbeat. The study also finds it takes more ground coffee to reduce the risk of suffering an arrhythmia.

Four to five cups a day of ground coffee lowered arrhythmia risk by 17 percent, while two to three cups of instant lowered the risk by 12 percent.

“Caffeine is the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components. It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease and survival. Our findings indicate that drinking modest amounts of coffee of all types should not be discouraged but can be enjoyed as a heart healthy behavior,” Prof. Kistler concludes.

The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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