Many people start their mornings with breakfast and a cup (or more) of coffee to feel energized. According to a study, coffee lovers may have more to celebrate when it comes to their daily cup of joe.
The findings of the decade-long study suggest that consuming up to three cups of coffee daily may help you live longer. Additionally, people who regularly drank coffee were at least 12 percent less likely to die.
The study was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and conducted by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Semmelweis University in Hungary.
Drink coffee brewed from ground coffee, not instant varieties
For the study, the research team examined the link between usual coffee intake and incidents of heart attack, stroke and death.
The study involved data from 468,629 participants of the UK Biobank with no signs of heart disease at the time of recruitment. The average age of the participants was 56.2 years and 55.8 percent were women.
The study found that regular coffee drinkers were at least up to a fifth less likely to get cardiovascular disease or suffer a stroke.
However, the researchers emphasized that the health benefits only come from consuming ground coffee, not instant varieties. They also advised that consuming more than three cups of coffee daily doesn’t have any good effects.
Coffee is one of the most consumed drinks worldwide, but earlier studies were contradictory when it comes to its possible benefits or potential adverse effects.
Coffee contains caffeine along with minerals and antioxidants. Research has linked coffee with reduced risk of cancer, dementia and Type 2 diabetes.
But other studies suggest that consuming coffee is linked to a greater risk of having high blood pressure and dying from heart disease.
Coffee offers cardiovascular benefits
The current study suggests that coffee doesn’t increase blood pressure and offers benefits for your heart health.
Dr. Steffen Petersen, one of the study authors, explained that moderate coffee consumption “is not cardiovascularly harmful and may even be beneficial.” He added that the study “is the largest volume of research to date focusing on the cardiovascular effects of coffee consumption.”
The participants were followed for 11 years so the research team could study the differences between groups. Out of all the participants, 22.1 percent were non-coffee drinkers and 58.4 percent drank 0.5 up to three cups of coffee every day.
The rest of the participants (19.5 percent) consumed more than three cups of coffee daily.
The findings revealed that the people who consumed between 0.5 to 3 cups of coffee per day were 12 percent less likely to die compared to the non-coffee drinkers by the end of the study. Additionally, the group was 17 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 21 percent less likely to have a stroke compared to the non-coffee drinkers.
The participants who consumed up to three cups of coffee were less likely to be diabetic than the non-coffee drinkers. While the scientists didn’t examine why, data has found that caffeine can help suppress appetite, which could help lower rates of obesity and its related health conditions.
The participants who consumed more than three cups of coffee a day were not more likely to have high blood pressure, a concern often discussed in previous studies. However, those in this group had similar rates of mortality, heart disease and stroke to non-coffee drinkers. This implies that three cups of coffee a day was the maximum people can drink to gain health benefits.
The research team reported that they did not detect any increase in high blood pressure rates among the participants who consumed coffee daily, addressing concerns that caffeinated drink may cause the condition.
When the researchers studied health benefits based on the type of coffee the participants drank, those who used instant coffee, which was at least one-quarter of the group, did not have any health benefits. This could be because there are differences in how the coffee is made, suggested the researchers.
Instant coffee contains more caffeine and antioxidants. However, it also has twice as much acrylamide, a substance found in some foods that have been linked with a greater risk of cancer and nervous system damage.
The researchers explained that coffee’s “[favorable] effect” could be explained by changes in the heart structure among the participants who drank coffee.
After examining cardiovascular MRI scans, which were available for 30,000 of the participants, the data revealed that those who drank coffee had healthier hearts. The participants who drank a moderate or high amount of coffee had larger ventricles, which meant that they could pump out more blood.
Other ways to improve your life expectancy
Aside from drinking ground coffee, here are some tips to improve your overall health and life expectancy.
Eat more healthy plant foods
Ensuring that your regular diet is full of different plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains can help reduce disease risk and promote longevity.
Research has found that there is a connection between a plant-rich diet and a lower risk of premature death, along with a reduced risk of:
- Brain deterioration
- Heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome
These benefits are linked to plant foods’ nutrients and antioxidants, such as carotenoids, folate, polyphenols and vitamin C.
Many studies link vegetarian and vegan diets, which are naturally higher in plant foods, with a 12 to 15 percent lower risk of premature death. The same studies also showed that there is a 29 to 52 percent lower risk of dying from cancer or heart, kidney, or hormone-related diseases.
Additionally, some data has found that the risk of premature death and certain diseases are greater the more you consume meat. But other studies report either nonexistent or much weaker links. The negative effects are usually specifically associated with the consumption of processed meat.
Vegetarians and vegans also generally tend to be more health-conscious than those who consume meat, which could partially explain these results.
Generally, consuming plenty of plant foods is likely to benefit your well-being and longevity.
Eat more nuts
Nuts are superfoods full of various nutrients. Nuts are great sources of dietary fiber, antioxidants, protein and beneficial plant compounds.
Nuts are also full of many vitamins and minerals, like copper, folate, magnesium, niacin, potassium and vitamins B6 and E.
Research has revealed that nuts have beneficial effects on the following:
- Belly fat levels
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Some forms of cancer
According to a study, those who consumed at least three servings of nuts per week had a 39 percent lower risk of premature death.
Here are some healthy and delicious ways to eat more nuts:
- Add a handful of nuts to your breakfast, like oatmeal.
- Make granola or muesli.
- Bulk up a green smoothie with your favorite nuts.
- Snack on fruit and nuts or nut butter.
- Replace croutons with nuts when preparing a salad.
- Make soup “creamy” by adding nuts like cashews while the soup is simmering.
According to animal studies, a 10 to 50 percent reduction in normal calorie intake may increase maximum lifespan.
Studies of human populations renowned for longevity have also found connections between low calorie intake, an extended lifespan and a lower disease risk.
Additionally, calorie restriction may help reduce excess body weight and belly fat, two factors often linked to shorter lifespans.
Note that long-term calorie restriction is often unsustainable and may cause adverse effects like increased hunger, low body temperature and a diminished libido or sex drive.
Moderate your alcohol intake
Heavy alcohol consumption is often associated with heart, liver and pancreatic disease, along with an overall increased risk of early death.
Meanwhile, moderate consumption is linked to a reduced likelihood of several diseases and a 17 to 18 percent decrease in the risk of premature death.
But wine is considered beneficial because it is full of polyphenol antioxidants. Study findings from a 29-year study revealed that men who preferred wine were 34 percent less likely to die early than those who drank beer or spirits.
A separate review revealed that wine was especially protective against diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and neurological disorders.
If you want to reduce your alcohol intake, experts recommend that women consume only one to two units or less of alcohol per day and a maximum of seven units per week. Men should have a daily alcohol intake of only three units or less, with a maximum of 14 units of alcohol per week.
Keep in mind that no strong research suggests that the benefits of moderate drinking are greater than those of abstaining from alcohol. This means you don’t need to start drinking if you don’t usually consume alcohol.
Smoking is strongly associated with disease and early death. According to data, individuals who smoke may lose up to 10 years of life and be thrice as likely to die prematurely than those who don’t smoke.
If you are a smoker, it’s never too late to quit. A study found that people who successfully quit smoking by 35 may prolong their lives by up to 8.5 years.
Additionally, quitting smoking in your 60s may add up to 3.7 years to your life. If you’re in your 80s, quitting smoking may still offer benefits.
Be physically active
Regular physical activity can help boost your overall health and improve your life expectancy. If you’re busy with work or school, exercising for at least 15 minutes every day can offer health benefits, such as adding three more years to your life.
Your risk of premature death may decrease by four percent for each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise.
According to a recent review, there is a 22 percent lower risk of early death in people who exercised even if they worked out less than the recommended 150 minutes per week. Those who hit the 150-minute recommendation were 28 percent less likely to die early.
Those who exercised longer were at least 35 percent less likely to die early.
If you want to live longer, drink up to three cups of ground coffee daily, but make sure you only drink a cup of joe made from ground coffee as instant coffee doesn’t offer the same health benefits.
Watch the video below to learn how to make cold brew coffee at home using ground coffee.