Every 2 cups of coffee you drink every day will reduce your mortality risk by almost a quarter. This is shown by a study published by Spanish epidemiologists at the University of Navarra in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
An average coffee drinker consumes about a gram of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid on a daily basis – and, in addition, many other substances, such as flavonoids, melanoidins, furans, pyrroles and maltol. Some of these chemicals undoubtedly do nothing at all, but a lot of them have biological effects.
This complicates research into the health effects of coffee. To which substances nutritional scientists have to pay attention? Things are much easier with tea. That is why national and international dietary guidelines mention tea, but don’t mention coffee.
The researchers followed almost 20,000 Spaniards for about ten years.
With every 2 cups of coffee that the study participants drank daily, their chance of dying decreased by 22 percent.
Some nutritional scientist think that there is a special reason why there are recently so many studies that show that coffee is healthy, while in older literature this association is absent. “That is not so much because coffee is so healthy, but also because the consumption of vegetables has plummeted. This trend has decreased the intake of plant substances to such an extent that coffee with its chlorogenic acid and related compounds now makes a difference.”
The Spanish study does not confirm this theory. The Spaniards have been thoroughly involved in brushing away all possible other variables – including the quality of the diet.
When the researchers further searched their data, they discovered that the protective effect of coffee was only statistically significant for the study participants who were 55 or older.
“We found an inverse linear association between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality”, summarize the researchers. “The association became stronger among participants aged older than 54 y.”
“These findings are consistent with previous studies and support the idea that coffee could be part of a healthful diet.”