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Drinking Coffee May Help You Live Longer (Hooray!)

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Drinking Coffee May Help You Live Longer (Hooray!)
Two new studies maintain that drinking coffee actually improves your chances of living longer. Photo Credit: ArthurHidden/iStock/GettyImages

We know you don’t need yet another excuse to start every day with a cup of coffee, but it turns out that your daily dose of java just might be the secret to a longer life. Yes, even decaf!

A University of Southern California study conducted over 16 years collected data from 185,855 people of various ethnicities ages 45 to 75 at the start of the study, and the results will have coffee aficionados everywhere celebrating.

According to the findings, which were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday, those who drink a cup of coffee a day are 12 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease than people who don’t drink any. Add another cup or two of daily java, and the risk of death from those diseases is reduced by 18 percent. And these findings applied equally to African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites.

To sweeten the deal, it didn’t matter whether people drank regular or decaf, the results were the same — meaning the association isn’t dependent on caffeine. Unfortunately, they have yet to pinpoint the compounds that are responsible for coffee’s life-lengthening health benefits.

“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” Veronica W. Setiawan, lead author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said in the university’s press release. “If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”

To add to the good news for coffee lovers, another study also published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday, which was conducted by the Imperial College London and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, produced almost identical results. After analyzing data from 521,330 people in 10 European countries over 16 years, they concluded that “coffee drinking was associated with reduced risk for death from various causes” across all 10 countries.

“We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases and digestive diseases,” lead author Dr. Marc Gunter of the IARC explained in the college’s press release. More specifically, they found that drinking more coffee correlated with better liver function and immune response.

In addition to potentially adding years to your life, coffee is packed with antioxidants and has the cognitive benefit of perking you up. It may also lower your risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and other chronic diseases.

Before you start celebrating this news by adding a few extra shots to your latte, keep in mind that caffeine is still a drug. Because drinking decaf is just as beneficial when it comes to longevity, if you’re planning to up your coffee consumption, you might want to consider taking the less jittery route to get there.

What Do YOU Think?

How many cups of coffee do you drink per day? Are you surprise by these latest studies? Will the findings of this study motivate you to drink more? Will you add any cups of decaf coffee to your daily coffee habit?

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