People who drink a moderate amount of coffee – up to 3½ cups a day – might have a better chance at a longer life span, even if their coffee is lightly sweetened with sugar, according to research published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
For about seven years, the researchers tracked the coffee consumption and health of 171,616 participants, who were an average of nearly 56 years old and were free of cancer and cardiovascular disease when the study started.
They found that those who regularly drank 1½ to 3½ cups of coffee a day, whether plain or sweetened with about a teaspoon of sugar, were up to 30% less likely to die in that time frame from any cause, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, than were those who did not drink coffee.
The type of coffee – whether instant, ground or decaffeinated – made no difference, but the results were described as inconclusive for the use of artificial sweeteners. The latest research does not prove that coffee alone was responsible for participants’ lowered mortality risk. Still, over the years, research has revealed a variety of health benefits for coffee, linking its consumption to a reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, depression and more.
Nutritionists often attribute the benefits of coffee to the abundance of antioxidants in coffee beans, which may help reduce internal inflammation and cell damage and protect against disease. Drinking caffeinated coffee also provides an energy boost and increased alertness. Caffeine, however, can disrupt sleep and be risky during pregnancy.
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