Study: Drinking Coffee Staves Off Death

This is seriously the best news I’ve read all month. A study just reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that coffee drinkers have a lower overall risk of death than non-coffee drinkers. And I’m not talking about one measly cup of coffee a day, either.

The study, conducted by the  National Cancer Institute and using data from the National Institutes of Health, found that after adjusting for the fact that coffee drinkers are more likely to smoke, there was a significant inverse correlation between coffee drinking and mortality. Translation: drinking coffee staves off death.

The study found that people who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a 10 percent lower risk of dying. In fact, for both men and women, people who drink four or five cups of coffee a day had the lowest overall risk of death. For men, that sixth cup bumped their risk back up a bit, probably because six cups of coffee a day isn’t very good for your blood pressure.

This study also explains why I feel like death when I run out of coffee. It’s not the caffeine crash. It’s that the coffee is keeping me alive.

The study found that overall risk of death was lowered, as well as death from specific causes, including heart disease, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, but not for deaths due to cancer. I’m sure  that sucked for the researchers, being from the National Cancer Institute and all.

Although the study doesn’t show a causal link, the study authors noted that the results held true for decaf drinkers as well as those who take the real stuff, suggesting that any protective qualities are in the coffee itself, not the caffeine.

A study last fall showed that women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to suffer from depression, compared to women who drink one cup of coffee or less per week. That study, however, showed that decaf didn’t have the same effect. This was totally not surprising because let’s face it, coffee is an upper — warm, delicious upper.

In fact, the only way I was able to cut back on my coffee intake was after I had been prescribed amphetamines for my ADHD. Turns out I’d been self-medicating for a couple decades with gallons of coffee and Diet Coke. Thanks to Adderall, I’m now able to toe the fine line between drinking enough caffeine to function and not drinking so much that my breasts become filled with painful cysts o’ Diet Coke.

Again, that study didn’t show a causal link, but I’m going to go ahead and ignore that fact completely. Obviously, the take-home message here is that coffee is good, more coffee is better, and even more coffee will make you live forever.

When I wrote about the study on coffee and depression last fall, I created this helpful, highly scientific* graph to illustrate it. It’s like I’m psychic. I fully expect we’ll hear about the world peace one in another six months.


*By which I mean, completely unscientific.

(via: ABC News)

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto. Graph: stark. raving. mad. mommy.)

Read more from Joslyn at her blog stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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