Most of the world’s workforce is divided into two categories - those that can successfully function without coffee, and those that can’t. For anyone who falls into the latter, all the anxiety, caffeine cravings and general jitteriness are worth it, just so that they can keep up with the rest of the world from 9AM - 12PM. This has always seemed like a sacrifice. Now however, new evidence has emerged to suggest that coffee may be doing more than keeping us employed. It may actually be keeping us alive.
According to research conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is strong evidence of “inverse associations for coffee drinking with mortality, including among participants drinking 1 up to 8 or more cups per day,” meaning that those drinking coffee had a higher mortality rate than those that don’t. From this, the scientists inferred that “coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers.”
The study itself drew data from a huge cross section of British society, examining over 500,000 people between the ages of 38 and 73. Of those 500,000 people, approximately 380,000 were identified as coffee drinkers. Out of the entire group, “over 10 years of follow-up, 14 225 deaths occurred.” After carefully analysing cause of death in every instance, the scientists were able to confidently state that far from presenting potential health risks, drinking coffee may well be having an actively positive impact.
As if the main headline wasn’t startling enough, the results also suggested that it doesn’t even matter how much coffee you drink. Provided you’re drinking between one and eight cups per day, the data seemed to suggest that you would still see the benefits of the inverse mortality correlation. More surprisingly still, even the type of coffee you’re drinking doesn’t appear to make much of a difference. The study notes that “Similar associations were observed for instant, ground, and decaffeinated coffee, across common causes of death, and regardless of genetic caffeine metabolism score.”
Aside from being a potential boost to Starbucks shares, the new results reveal some useful home truths for a naturally suspicious public. In the “Importance” section of the report, the authors write that “Prospective cohorts in North America, Europe, and Asia show consistent inverse associations between coffee drinking and mortality, including deaths from cardiovascular disease and some cancers. However, concerns about coffee, particularly among people with common genetic polymorphisms affecting caffeine metabolism and among those drinking more than 5 cups per day, remain.” This suggests that the new data may finally help us get over our irrational concern over the impact of coffee consumption.