No one knows why coffee is such a hotly debated topic. Maybe it’s because it has such a prominent place in people’s lives and someone always likes to ruin the party, or maybe it’s due to it’s very dark color. But studies keep claiming that coffee, in moderation, might help you live longer and have better health.
A study that surveyed residents of the UK analyzed how coffee habits affect people’s overall health. These people were grouped and asked about their habits, including how many cups of coffee they consumed on a daily basis, and other factors such as smoking and more. Popular Science reports: “Across 502,641 participants ranging from 38 to 73 years old, both male and female, show that the more coffee a person drank the less likely they were to die.”
That’s pretty damning evidence. Coffee is good for you, case closed. Kidding, not just yet.
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Since the study is completely observational, researchers can’t imply causation, and can only speculate with the numbers and results they were given. The study grouped participants according to six ways of consuming coffee: those who drank less than one cup a day, those who drank one cup a day, two or three a day, four to five, and so on. The last category was for those who consumed more than eight cups of coffee a day. The study found that the more people drank coffee, the less they were likely to die.
While the results are positive for coffee lovers, Popular Science points out that there may be other influencing factors. For example, users that have diseases like cancer might not drink coffee and are at higher risks of dying.
While studies like this one have been conducted in the past, this is the first one to account for genetic variations in caffeine metabolism, meaning that the research accounted for people’s different reactions to caffeine. An example of this is someone who drinks coffee at night and still sleeps soundly. The research logically found that those who have a higher tolerance for coffee were found to consume more coffee on average.
It seems that a healthy amount of coffee, even decaffeinated, gives us a discernible health boost despite the fact that no one knows why. Scientists argue that it could be the compounds in the drink (lignans, quinides, and magnesium) that give us a health benefit or the drink’s antioxidant properties. Someday we’ll know. Maybe.