New study reveals coffee drinking may boost life expectancy

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Savour your morning cup of coffee - new research from the UK's National Cancer Institute says even the heaviest coffee drinkers are likely to live longer than those who don't drink it at all.

This recent study drew from data from the UK Biobank study, an in-depth research initiative collecting data and following 500,000 people for three decades.

Last year, researchers in Spain also reported that people who drank at least four cups of coffee a day had a 64 percent lower risk of death than those who never or nearly never drank coffee.

No matter the cause of death, drinking coffee was associated with longer life expectancy for all participants, aged between 38-73 years.

On the basis of this study, some people who were holding back on coffee because of lingering health concerns may want to drink a little more if they want to, professor Lichstenstein says.

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"During the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly of cancer or heart disease", the AP reported. The participants also answered questions about their general health, education, and smoking and drinking habits. Among at least the generally healthy individuals from the United Kingdom enrolled in this study, coffee drinkers seem to gain health benefits from the habit.

Coffee beans are rich in polyphenols; they contain higher concentrations of these antioxidants than blackberries or kale.

For many of us, a day hasn't properly started until we've had our first cup of coffee. The study echoes previous research.

However, the team behind the study stressed they only found a correlation between coffee and a lower chance of death.

A woman drinks a cup of coffee in this undated file photo.

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Alice Lichenstein, a Tufts University nutrition researcher not linked to the study agrees, saying coffee has had negative health connotations which partially come from early literature suggesting coffee is not healthy for people.

Drinking coffee could be beneficial, regardless of whether a person metabolizes the drink quickly or slowly.

While caffeine in large amounts can kill, it takes huge amounts of coffee to deliver a lethal dose - more than 20 cups at once. Part of the benefit, he points out, is that coffee simply makes people happy. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of coffee.

No doubt more coffee studies will be along in the very near future.

The strongest associations were observed for ground coffee compared to instant and decaf, the authors wrote, summarizing that brewed coffee offers higher concentrations of health-protective compounds and nutrients, which promote "reduced inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity", increase blood flow and proper liver functioning. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolizers had a longevity boost.

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