Report

4 Ways Coffee Can Save Your Life

By Dana Leigh Smith

Drinking that second cup of coffee may do more than get you through the work day, it may also save your life.

At least that’s what new research published in the journal Circulation suggests. To come to this finding, Harvard School of Public Health researchers surveyed more than 250,000 Americans over 28 years and asked them questions them about their diet and coffee consumption. After analyzing their rates of disease and death over the following twenty years, they found that among nonsmokers, those who drank between three and five cups of java daily were up to 15 percent less likely to die of any cause than those who weren’t as friendly with their neighborhood barista.

Intrigued? Read on to discover exactly how those extra cups of Joe extended their lives—and how an extra trip to your local coffee shop, can help you live a longer, healthier life, too!

1
It Wards
off Diabetes

Not only did the Harvard study discover an inverse association between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes, a number of previous finding support the observation, too. In the paper, the researchers explain that java’s unique combination of compounds and nutrients are to thank for it’s health-protective effects. However, one particular phytochemical, chlorogenic acid, may just be the unsung hero hiding in your coffee mug. How’s it keep you healthy? The compound reduces glucose absorption in the intestine and liver glucose output, helping to ward off the condition.

For more foods that will keep diabetes at bay (and help you slim down, too!), check out these 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss and Total Health.

2
It Keeps Your
Ticker, Ticking

Although the researchers found that coffee drinkers have a 10 percent decreased risk of death from heart disease, a common java add-in may counteract the drink’s health-boosting effects: creamer. The traditional varieties are packed with trans-fats, often hiding under the guise of its lesser-known name: hydrogenated oil, which raises levels of cholesterol and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Yikes! Keep the creamer out of your cup to reap the heart-healthy benefits of your daily sip.

And to discover more ways to keep your ticker in top form, check out these 7 Best Foods to Decrease Your Heart Disease Risk.

3
It Keeps
You Happy

The researchers found that study participants (both smokers and nonsmokers) who drank at least one cup of coffee a day had up to a 36 percent lower rate of suicide—and this wasn’t the first group of researchers to make this discovery. Several other studies have hinted at an inverse association, too. Even so, it’s not yet clear if there's something in the drink to thank or if coffee drinkers just happen to share common lifestyle factors (like higher rates of employment) that are often associated with a lower risk of suicide. One theory is that the caffeine could be a contributing factor, which makes a lot of sense. Caffeine was shown to reduce the loss of dopamine (AKA the happiness hormone), according to the report.

4
It Keeps Your
Brain Healthy

The good news keeps on coming! Coffee drinkers were also found to be between 9 and 37 percent less likely to die of neurological diseases like Parkinson's and dementia. Though the reason for this is not yet fully understood, one theory is that the coffee’s caffeine could be a contributing factor.


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