Coffee and Longevity: Do Coffee Drinkers Live Longer?

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Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

It contains hundreds of different compounds, some of which offer important health benefits.

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Several large studies have shown that people who drank moderate amounts of coffee were less likely to die during the study period.

You may wonder whether this means that you’ll live longer if you drink a lot of coffee.

This short review tells you if drinking coffee can extend your life.

How Coffee Makes you Live Longer

A Major Source of Antioxidants

When hot water runs through coffee grounds while brewing, the natural chemical compounds in the beans mix with the water and become part of the drink.

Many of these compounds are antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress in your body caused by damaging free radicals.

Oxidation is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and common, serious conditions like cancer and heart disease.

Coffee happens to be the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet — outranking both fruits and vegetables combined (123Trusted Source).

This doesn’t necessarily mean that coffee is richer in antioxidants than all fruits and vegetables, but rather that coffee intake is so common that it contributes more to people’s antioxidant intake on average.

When you’re treating yourself to a cup of coffee, you’re not only getting caffeine but many other beneficial compounds, including powerful antioxidants.Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. If you don’t eat many fruits or vegetables, it may be one of the largest sources of antioxidants in your diet.

People Who Drink Coffee Are Less Likely to Die Than Those Who Don’t

Several studies show that regular coffee intake is linked to a lower risk of dying from various serious diseases.

An important 2012 study on coffee consumption in 402,260 people aged 50–71 observed that those who drank the most coffee were significantly less likely to have died during the 12–13-year study period (4).

The sweet spot appeared to be a coffee intake of 4–5 cups per day. At this quantity, men and women had a 12% and 16 % reduced risk of early death, respectively. Drinking 6 or more cups per day provided no additional benefit.

However, even moderate coffee consumption of just one cup per day was associated with a 5–6% lowered risk of early death — showing that even a little bit is enough to have an effect.

Looking at particular causes of death, researchers found that coffee drinkers were less likely to die from infections, injuries, accidents, respiratory disease, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease (4).

Other more recent studies support these findings. Coffee intake seems to be consistently linked to a lower risk of early death (5Trusted Source6Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that these are observational studies, which cannot prove that coffee caused the reduction in risk. Still, their results are a good reassurance that coffee is — at the very least — not to be feared.One large study found that drinking 4–5 cups of coffee per day was associated with a reduced risk of early death.

Many Other Studies Have Led to Similar Results

The effects of coffee on health have been studied very thoroughly in the past few decades.

At least two other studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of premature death (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

Regarding specific diseases, coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, and liver diseases — just to name a few (91011Trusted Source12Trusted Source).

What’s more, studies show that coffee may make you happier, reducing your risk of depression and suicide by 20% and 53%, respectively (13Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

Thus, coffee may not only add years to your life but also life to your years.

Coffee intake is linked to a lower risk of depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, and liver diseases. People who drink coffee are also less likely to die by suicide.

The Bottom Line

Observational studies suggest that drinking coffee reduces your risk of chronic disease and may even extend your life.

These types of studies examine associations but cannot prove — beyond doubt — that coffee is the real cause of these health benefits.

Nevertheless, higher-quality evidence supports some of these findings, meaning that coffee may well be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

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