Higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of death, according to a new study by Spanish researchers.
The observational study of almost 20,000 participants suggests that coffee can be part of a healthy diet.
On entering the study, volunteers (with an average age of 37) completed a food frequency questionnaire to collect information on coffee consumption, lifestyle previous health conditions.
Patients were followed-up for an average of ten years. During that ten year period, 337 participants died. The researchers found that participants who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64 per cent lower risk of death than those who never or almost never consumed coffee.
There was a 22 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality for each two additional cups of coffee per day.
The researchers examined whether sex, age or adherence to the Mediterranean diet had any influence on the association between baseline coffee consumption and mortality. They observed a significant interaction between coffee consumption and age. In those who were at least 45 years old, drinking two additional cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30 per cent lower risk of mortality during follow-up. The association was not significant among younger participants.
Dr. Adela Navarro, the study’s lead author, said: ‘Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world. Previous studies have suggested that drinking coffee might be inversely associated with all-cause mortality but this has not been investigated in a Mediterranean country.’
‘In the SUN project we found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above. This may be due to a stronger protective association among older participants.’
‘Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.’