BY CHRISTA SGOBBA
Monday, November 16, 2015
Keep the coffee flowing: People who drink more java may live longer, new research from Harvard suggests.
The researchers studied more than 200,000 people for up to 28 years. They discovered that among nonsmokers, those who drank 3 to 5 cups of caffeinated or decaf coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to die of any cause than those who didn’t drink the beverage at all.
One possible factor? A powerful antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which is super abundant in coffee, says study author Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
This component may also help explain the 19 percent reduction in heartdisease deaths and the 24 percent reduction in diabetes deaths the study found when comparing people who drank 3 to 5 cups daily to those who drank none.
That’s because both diseases are spurred by inflammation, says Dr. Hu. And the chlorogenic acid in coffee may help reduce it throughout your body.
The researchers also discovered that among nonsmokers, those who drank 3 to 5 cups of regular or decaf coffee a day were 37 percent less likely to die from a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s, and 36 percent less likely to die from suicide, compared to nondrinkers.
The driver behind this link is probably caffeine, says Dr. Hu.
“Caffeine stimulates the production of dopamine, and the main problem with Parkinson’s is a reduction in that,” he says.
It might also boost production of neurotransmitters in your brain, promoting an antidepressant effect that can protect against suicide.
There’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how many cups of coffee you should chug a day, says Dr. Hu. Drinking 3 to 5 cups seemed to be the sweet spot in the study, but more modest protective effects were also seen from drinking less or more than that.