The American Heart Association Journal published a study today in which researchers looked at the coffee drinking habits of a large sample of American adults and found that those who drank moderate amounts of coffee, that’s less than 5 cups per day, had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes and even suicide.
The good news for decaf drinkers is that the protective effects were seen equally in both regular and decaf coffee drinkers, which suggests that it's not just caffeine that comes with health benefits, but actually the naturally occurring chemical compounds in coffee.
"Previous studies show that chemical compounds in coffee beans reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation," the study's first author, Dr. Ming Ding said. "This may account for the inverse association between coffee and mortality."
Sounds like a sensible logical observation! Ding and the team analyzed data on three large ongoing studies with a total of almost 168,000 women and over 40,000 men in which the participants were asked about their coffee drinking habits over a thirty year period.
Every four years, they researchers would get in touch with the participants and, during this follow-up period, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died from a range of causes. Interestingly, the researchers found that people who regularly drank coffee were more likely to be smokers and drink alcohol.
So, in order, to study the effects of coffee drinking, they repeated their analysis among people who had never smoked and found the health benefits of drinking coffee, both regular and decaffeinated coffee, on risk of death from chronic diseases was even more pronounced.
On the benefits of drinking decaf, the researchers pointed out that highly caffeinated drinks are not for everyone and certain populations, like pregnant women and children, should limit their intake, so decaf is an ideal option for people who care about their long term health, though it must be said that extras like milk, syrups and sugar are not always very good for health!
"If people use a lot of sugar and cream, particularly if they decide on the basis of these findings to have an extra cup or two of coffee per day, they are adding calories in the form we do not recommend,"the study said. "In that case they should consider ramping down slowly, either decreasing the amount of sugar they add or shifting to a non-nutrient sweetening, and gradually shifting from cream to lower fat milk, or using less."
It’s great to see more serious long term studies are being conducted on the health benefits of regular and decaf coffee and we at Decadent Decaf positively encourage it! :)