By John Salak –
Looking to start a fight or at least a heated conversation? Forget mentioning politics, civil rights, religion or even sports. Just take a stand on coffee—whether it is good or bad for someone—and fireworks will probably ensue.
There is no argument that coffee is wildly popular. In the U.S. alone, 64 percent of adults drink some every day, which amounts to 400 million cups daily and 146 billion cups annually.
But popularity doesn’t always equate to it being good for you. For decades, the caffeine in coffee has fostered a host of warnings about its potential risks. The Mayo Clinic notes these include rising blood pressure, health issues for pregnant women, heartburn, nervousness, insomnia and even increases in cholesterol levels, among other things.
More recently, however, a growing amount of research indicates that coffee may actually offset Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, including liver cancer and heart attacks and stroke.
Now comes the ultimate caffeine kicker. Drinking two-to-three cups of coffee a day may help people live longer, according to a study that appeared in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Its findings applied to ground, instant and decaffeinated coffees.
“In this large, observational study, ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee were associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” reported the study’s author Professor Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. “The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”
The research team came to its conclusions on the relationship between coffee types and incidents of arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease and death after studying data from almost 500,000 individuals between 40 and 69 years old.
About 80 percent of the participants drank coffee daily, with most consuming instant coffee, followed by ground and then decaffeinated. The health risks and mortality rates of all these were measured after 12.5 years and it was discovered that coffee consumers fared significantly better than those who abstained.
In fact, the sweet spot in terms of daily consumption is two-to-three cups daily. Those who drank ground coffee did especially well in terms of expanding their lifespans. Compared to those who avoided coffee, people grabbing two-to-three cups a day of decaffeinated coffee had a 14 percent lower likelihood of death. Individuals who used instant coffee reduced their risk by 11 percent and those who favored ground coffee cut their risk by 27 percent.
Kistler claims his research puts a mug of joe in a whole new light that shouldn’t be ignored. “Caffeine is the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components. It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease and survival. Our findings indicate that drinking modest amounts of coffee of all types should not be discouraged but can be enjoyed as a heart-healthy behavior,” he said.