Two studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine report that coffee drinkers experience greater longevity of life than those who abstain from drinking the beverage, suggesting what I can only conclude to mean I WILL LIVE FOREVER.
Of the two studies, one focused on over 500,000 subjects in 10 European countries. The other focused on over 185,000 Native American, African American, Japanese American, Hawaiian, Latino, and white subjects. Both studies found that coffee consumption — particularly 2 to 4 cups per day — appears to coincide with a decreased risk of mortality regardless of race.
According to CNN, the studies found that subjects who consumed coffee experienced decreased risk of death from “heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease” and that subjects in European countries experienced decreased risk of mortality from “liver disease, suicide in men, cancer in women, digestive diseases and circulatory diseases.”
But not everyone’s clicking their heels at the findings.
Marc Gunter, a co-author of the European study, fears that people may take this news to mean drinking coffee somehow cancels out the negative effects of poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking. While the studies suggest that even smokers benefit from coffee consumption as it pertains to their longevity of life, this does not mean drinking coffee somehow erases the havoc such vices wreak on the body.
Moreover, Gunter is quick to point out that non-coffee drinkers may choose to abstain from consuming the beverage for health reasons, suggesting the increased longevity of life among coffee drinkers may have less to do with the actual consumption of coffee and more to do with the fact that they are naturally healthier to begin with.
As someone whose parents must abstain from drinking and eating caffeinated beverages and foods (including chocolate — the horror!) for heart health reasons, I totally get where Gunter is coming from. It’s not necessarily that my parents’ peers who do drink coffee are somehow extending their lives by doing so. Perhaps it’s just that my parents happen to suffer from heart disease and their peers don’t, which puts my parents at greater risk of mortality than their peers regardless of whether their peers drink coffee or not.
All these caveats notwithstanding, this is still pretty exciting news for someone like me, who absolutely loves morning coffee time. I know I may not be making up for all my bad life decisions by drinking a few cups of joe per day, but at least this means I’m probably not harming myself further by consuming an extra bold java or three each morning.
And when all is said and done, these research findings almost make me feel as warm and tingly as does the non-fat vanilla latte I’m cradling as I type.