Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. In America, 80 percent of adults consume coffee every day.
Medical research on the health effects of coffee appears to provide more good news than bad news. Growing evidence highlights coffee’s ability to reduce cancer risk, mitigate diabetes, preserve cognition and improve vascular disease.
Following are summaries of the relevant research:
An exciting new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that coffee drinking may add years to your life. Researchers examined the association of coffee drinking with subsequent mortality among over 400,000 men and women in the National Institutes of Health AARP Diet and Health Study. They found that coffee drinking added years to participants’ lives.
A large study of women showed no overall association between caffeine consumption and breast cancer risk. Multiple studies have associated coffee drinking with as much as a 57 percent reduced incidence of colon cancers.
Two large studies showed that relatively modest caffeine consumption was associated with a lower relative risk of basal cell carcinoma.
People who consumed more than three cups of coffee a month had a 17 percent reduction in the relative risk of basal cell carcinoma compared to individuals who drank less than one cup per month.
Coffee intake in women has been shown to be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
A quality scientific review found that moderate coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of heart failure. The strongest association was two of two seen for consumption of two cups a day.
Coffee consumption has been associated with improved cognitive function in aging adults. In one study of 676 individuals with an average age of about 75 years, coffee consumption was associated with less cognitive decline over a 10-year time period.
In a large study, medical researchers found no correlation between long term coffee consumption and increased blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies show that coffee consumption produces a 33 percent reduction in the risk of dangerous blood clots that can travel from veins to the lungs or brain.
Despite its health benefits, coffee does have a couple of drawbacks: Excess consumption (more than three cups per day) can contribute to the risk of headaches and caffeine consumption (as little as one cup of coffee a day) during pregnancy is associated with a reduction in infant birth weight.
Optimally, women should reduce caffeine intake before conception and throughout pregnancy. Once pregnancy is confirmed, the mother-to-be should make every effort to stop or markedly reduce caffeine consumption.
Overall, research provides assurance that coffee drinking is not an unhealthy choice for most people.
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