Coffee Intake Associated With Longevity, Say Stanford Researchers

coffeeAmericans are coffee addicts, and perhaps more so nowadays, now that we’re working longer hours and getting less sleep than decades past. 50% of Americans drink at least one cup per day. In the past, the pendulum on coffee, and in particular caffeine, swung back and forth as to whether moderate consumption was healthy or not. At one time, too much was thought bad for the heart.

Today, moderate caffeine consumption is actually considered healthy. Tea and coffee both contain antioxidants which rid the body of free radicals—proven to harm cells. One recent study found that coffee consumption in women can decrease the risk of dementia. Another found that drinking coffee can lessen the impact of liver disease.

In a recent study published online in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers at Stanford University discovered that among certain adults, caffeine can block an inflammation pathway which leads to heart disease. 100 human participants underwent extensive assessment, including giving researchers their family and medical histories, answering survey questions, and giving blood. This pathway is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation that is known to contribute to disease and aging.

Nucleic acid metabolites are byproducts of processes that circulate in the blood and trigger inflammation. Chronic, low-grade inflammation has been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer, and even depression. According to the study’s lead author David Furman, PhD, “More than 90 percent of all non-communicable diseases of aging are associated with chronic inflammation.”

There are now numerous  recent studies that show moderate caffeine consumption offers tremendous health benefits.

Coffee And Your Heart?

Coffee for Your Heart-New Research says Yes to Four Cups heart

For years, health authorities have believed coffee was bad for your heart. But now there’s a new reason to have that extra cup of coffee every day! Drinking as many as four cups daily may actually help in the prevention of a heart attack. That’s according to new research published by BMJ Heart.

The BMJ Heart Study

Compared to people who don’t drink coffee at all, those who have three to four cups of the black stuff every day have 40 percent less coronary artery calcium – or CAC –according to the BMJ Heart study. A well-established marker of heart disease, CAC in greater quantities hardens and narrows the arteries, which can cause blood clots that can lead to stroke and increase your risk of a heart attack.

In fact, even people who drank as little as one cup every day saw a reduction in CAC, according to researchers. It’s just one of a few studies that have linked moderate coffee consumption to a healthier heart. Now, if you’re at risk for osteoporosis, where the bones become porous and fragile, stick to just one or two cups of coffee a day. The caffeine can interfere with your ability to absorb calcium and make use of vitamin D – both important for your bones.

Coffee For Better Heart Health

For the heart study, scientists looked at more than 25,000 men and women in South Korea – those who were roughly 40 years of age, had no signs of heart disease and attended a health-screening examination.

They discovered that a CAC score ratio of about 0.6 was associated with those consuming three to five cups per day, compared with non-coffee drinkers. For those drinking less than one cup a day, it was more like 0.8, dropping to 0.7 for people having one to three cups.

On the other hand, the ratio rose to 0.8 for people having five or more each day. And things like age, sex, weight, diabetes and hypertension, as well as alcohol and tobacco consumption didn’t affect the outcome. Neither did factors such as education, physical activity, family history of heart disease and dietary consumption of fruits, vegetables, red meat and processed meats, according to scientists.

Of course, it’s not clear how exactly coffee helps with the prevention of a heart attack. Researchers don’t know whether decaf coffee offers the same heart benefits as the full-strength kind. But they continue to point out the many antioxidants in coffee. Some of these may even reduce your body’s sensitivity to insulin – or improve cell function altogether. And these are two important factors behind the prevention of a heart attack.

In the future, additional studies will no doubt confirm these findings and establish the biological basis of coffee’s potential when it comes to the prevention of coronary artery disease and a heart attack. However,the benefits of drinking coffee are mitigated if you drink more than four cups each day, for example. And what you put in your coffee makes a real difference, too. That means limiting or cutting out the sugar, syrup, whipped cream and artificial sweeteners, as well as coffee creamers with partially hydrogenated oils.

Enjoy your coffee!