Your coffee addiction may be helping you live longer
Generally, when science papers cover addictive vices, the news is pretty bad. Well, here’s something to buck that trend: those of us who have lived a coffee-free existence have been missing out. Not only have we missed out on the valuable pick-me-up that a well-timed hit of caffeine delivers, but we could also miss out on years of life, as a huge study has revealed that coffee addicts seem to live longer.
The surprise revelation comes from the National Cancer Institute, which used data from 500,000 Brits who volunteered to contribute to the UK Biobank. Those citizens, aged between 38 and 73, gave blood and completed lifestyle surveys for ongoing research into health and genetics.
By comparing those who drank coffee with those that didn’t, the researchers spotted a surprising trend: 14,000 of the subjects died over the ten-year period, but non-coffee drinkers were more likely to be amongst that number. Curiously, it doesn’t seem to matter what type of coffee (instant, ground or decaffeinated) or in what quantities: even those drinking over eight cups a day were less likely to die.
Further good news: the presence of CYP1A2 – the so-called ‘coffee gene’ – didn’t make any impact either. Earlier studies had suggested that the presence of this gene could metabolise caffeine more slowly, leaving its owners more at risk of high blood pressure or a heart attack. But according to this study, there were no extra risks involved with having that particular genetic variant.
“The study provides further evidence that drinking coffee can be part of a healthy diet and offers reassurance to coffee drinkers,” the researchers said, tactfully ignoring the implied bad news for those of us that can’t stand the stuff.