Coffee drinkers have modestly lower mortality rates than people who don’t drink coffee, two recent studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine have found.
One study followed more than 450,000 adults from 10 European countries for an average of 16 years and found that coffee was associated with a 12 percent reduction in all-cause mortality rates in men and a 7 percent reduction in women, with higher intakes linked to greater benefits.
The second study followed 185,000 U.S. adults, also for 16 years, and linked one daily cup of coffee to a 12 percent reduction in mortality rates—and two or more cups to an 18 percent reduction—across multiple ethnic groups (except native Hawaiians, possibly because of their small number).
Both studies found similar trends for regular and decaf coffee.
Previous research has linked coffee consumption to a reduced risk of many disorders, from diabetes and colon cancer to cardiovascular, liver, and Parkinson’s disease.
Although the two new studies controlled for smoking and many other factors, such observational research can only establish associations, not causation. Thus, the accompanying editorial concluded that “Recommending coffee intake to reduce mortality or prevent chronic disease would be premature. However, it is increasingly evident that moderate coffee intake up to 3 to 5 cups per day or caffeine intake up to 400 milligrams a day is not associated with adverse health effects in adults and can be incorporated into a healthy diet.”
For more about the potential health benefits of coffee, see Coffee and Your Health.