As undeniably delicious as coffee is, it can be hard to know where we stand with our favourite hot bevvie. One day, we hear reports that caffeine makes us smarter, leaner and healthier. The next, we’re told that it’s bad for our health, stress levels and waistline. So, which is it? Is our daily java a wellness elixir or health saboteur?
Well, coffee addicts can breathe a sigh of relief, because we’ve got some answers! New research shows that regular coffee drinkers live longer than those who don’t drink it—even if they’re consuming more than 8 cups per day. The study published in JAMA Internal found that coffee drinkers outlived abstainers by 10 to 15%. Interestingly, the research also showed that drinking coffee even benefited people who were found to have issues metabolising caffeine.
In the decade-long study of 9 million participants, almost one third confirmed they drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day, while 10,000 drank at least 8 cups daily. Over the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly from heart disease or cancer. While caffeine has been shown to temporarily increase blood pressure, the study found that there was no increased risk of dying from heart disease or other blood pressure-related causes.
“We observed an inverse association for coffee drinking with mortality, including among participants who reported drinking at least one cup per day, up to eight or more cups per day, as well as those drinking filtered, instant and decaffeinated coffee,” Dr. Erikka Loftfield, the study’s lead investigator told TIME.
Considering the longevity-boosting effects of drinking coffee occurred even with decaf, it’s safe to say that it’s not the caffeine itself that is beneficial. However, the scientists still don’t know what it is about java that can lead to an increased lifespan. But what they do know is this: “Our study provides further evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers.’
Another cuppa, anyone?