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Three cups a day: Coffee drinkers live longer
Coffee has long been considered a health hazard. In recent years, however, various scientific studies have shown that the popular pick-me-up can be health-promoting. An international team of researchers has now found in a study that people with moderate coffee consumption live longer than coffee abstainers.
One of the most popular drinks in Germany
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in Germany. Every German citizen drinks an average of over 160 liters per year. The stimulant has long been considered harmful to health, but more and more scientific studies show that the popular hot beverage is healthier than is often assumed. A recent study by an international team of researchers has now found that people with moderate coffee consumption live longer.
Lower risk of death
To arrive at their results, scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London looked at the death data of more than half a million people from ten European countries.
They found that "higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death, particularly from circulatory and digestive diseases," said an article on the Imperial College London website.
The probability of the men examined with very high coffee consumption (more than 580 milliliters a day in Germany) to die was twelve percent less than that of non-coffee drinkers within the observation period of around 16 years. It was seven percent for women.
Influences such as diet and tobacco consumption had been eliminated by the researchers in order to be able to consider the effects of coffee in isolation.
The researchers used data from the large European long-term study EPIC (“European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition”) as the basis for their investigation.
The study results were recently published in the specialist journal "Annals of Internal Medicine".
Health effects of coffee
It should be emphasized that the “results were similar in all ten European countries, with different coffee drinking habits and customs. Our study also provides important insights into the possible mechanisms for the health effects of coffee, ”said lead author Marc Gunter.
However, there shouldn't be too much euphoria: "Due to the limits of observational research, we are not at a point to recommend a more or less coffee consumption."
However, the results of the study suggest that moderate coffee consumption of around three cups a day is not harmful to health, but that the hot drink could even have health benefits.
Professor Elio Riboli of Imperial College London said: "The results add further evidence to show that drinking coffee is not only safe, but actually has a protective effect on human health."
Positive effects on the liver
According to the study authors, an estimated 2.25 billion cups of coffee are drunk worldwide every day - although the opinion that the drink is harmful to health is still widespread.
However, more and more findings speak against it. The International Cancer Research Agency (IARC) announced last year that coffee could not prove to be at an increased risk of cancer.
According to a US study, coffee can even reduce the risk of colon cancer.
A few years ago, researchers from the German Institute for Nutritional Research (DifE) also reported in the journal "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" about the protective effects of liver cancer with regular coffee consumption.
And scientists from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh found that coffee can protect against the most common form of liver cancer.
The current study also showed positive effects on the liver: "We found that drinking more coffee was associated with a more favorable liver function profile and a better immune response," explained Marc Gunter.
The health effects may not come from coffee
According to Gunter Kuhnle from the British University of Reading, who was not involved in the study, this has already been shown in other studies, but not with the same accuracy, reports the dpa news agency.
Overall, the expert rates the observed effects of the study as rather small, but the current study closes a gap for the nutrition epidemiologist.
This is because the connection between total mortality and coffee consumption has already been investigated in the USA, but not in Europe.
This is particularly interesting because the importance and preparation of coffee on the two sides of the Atlantic differ significantly.
"In the United States, coffee is a" standard drink "and is consumed in particular by people with lower incomes, while in the UK, for example, tea is more widespread and coffee is the exception," the expert said.
However, social status has a major impact on health. Kuhnle also raises the question of why the mortality rate associated with higher coffee consumption is lower: "Is that the effect of bioactive compounds in coffee, which could then be isolated or prepared better, or is there another reason?"
In principle, it is also possible that the health effects do not come from coffee, but that the drink is only related to the actual reason for these effects.
For example, it is conceivable that people with an increased risk of illness generally drink less coffee. At least coffee is not unhealthy according to the current study. "But whether he is really healthy is another question." (Ad)