Your Morning Coffee Might Give You Extra Years

A new report on coffee, published in the journal Circulation, has caused a stir in the media lately. The study links to an association between drinking coffee and living longer. Although the researchers point out that they cannot be 100% certain that coffee causes people to live longer, their data suggests that both regular and decaf coffee consumers live longer than those who do not drink any coffee at all.

Why Might Coffee Increase Longevity?
Although many factors such as lifestyle choices can affect longevity, researchers think that something in coffee itself may be good for you. For example, coffee is filled with molecules that can reduce insulin sensitivity (which is linked to type 2 diabetes) and inflammation, such as chlorogenic acid, lignans and magnesium. Other studies have also shown that moderate coffee intake—three to five cups a day—is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. So perhaps something in the coffee itself does have beneficial health effects.

What if You Don’t Like Coffee?
If you’re more of a tea person, then there’s good news for you, too. Recently, the health council of the Netherlands published guidelines recommending that people should drink three to five cups of tea a day. This is based on tea’s positive effects on cognitive health, and other positive effects such as neural effects, anti-oxidant effects and positive effects on the metabolism.

As of now, we can’t be certain that it is the properties of coffee or tea that increase longevity in people or if it is confounding factors such as drinking a caffeinated beverage to maintain a more active lifestyle.

Despite all these benefits it is important to remember that too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. This is especially true for these beverages, as caffeine may cause insomnia, rapid heart rate and other health problems.

In any case, be it coffee or tea, a hot cup or two of either will not only help you get your day going, but may also help you live longer.

(Feature photo courtesy of pixabay.com)

Marcel Davidse

Marcel Davidse was an intern with the Healthy Aging Project in the fall of 2016, and graduated in December 2016 from the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder.