Coffee is one of the few things in life that it seems okay to be addicted to. Addicted to sugar? You’re gonna get fat. Addicted to beer? You’re an alcoholic. Addicted to coffee???? OMG ME TOO! So in this coffee consumerist world we now live in, what’s all that brew doing to our body? Turns out, coffee may have some real health benefits.
Coffee a day keeps the doctor away
The health benefits of coffee were derived from a study involving over 400,000 people. In 1995-1996, participants completed a survey assessing their lifestyle habits. They were tracked up until 2008, where any deaths during that period were reported.
And the results? Those that drank 2-3 cups of coffee a day showed a decrease in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, inflammatory disease and infections. And it seems that this finding held no matter what. It didn’t matter if drinkers ate less fruit and veg, drank more alcohol or didn’t exercise, coffee still gave a health boost.
Back that up!
Of course, science does not rely upon one study. And it can be dangerous to base one’s entire health decisions on research that conveniently supports an existing addiction to coffee. Thankfully, there’s always more science.
The study above was backed up by two separate studies in 2014 and 2015. These studies conducted meta-analysis, which pools together data from multiple sources. Think of meta-analysis like the movie-review website Rotten Tomatoes, which combines reviews of movies from multiple outlets, to give a film an overall rating.
The meta analyses in 2014 and 2015 showed that coffee does indeed have some powerful health benefits. To quote the 2014 paper, “coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total mortality” for light to moderate coffee drinkers. That means that coffee lowers the risk of death from all causes!
What makes coffee so good for you?
While the science says that coffee can be beneficial, it’s difficult to establish why. And unfortunately, it’s even harder to find a cause-effect relationship. While the studies link coffee to a reduction in mortality, maybe it’s not the coffee that’s responsible.
And even if it was coffee, what is it about coffee? Is there a magical molecule that decreases heart disease, diabetes, cancer and everything else? Is it the caffeine? Is it the antioxidants? Or is it one of the many thousands of compounds that exist in coffee?
Whatever it is or isn’t, Coffee, I love you. You may make me live a little longer, but at the end of the day, I love you for your taste, your warmth and miraculous ability to make me function.