Does Coffee Deserve Credit for Boom in Senior Citizen Population?
Massive study declares coffee drinkers have lower risk of death; seniors have declared coffee more important that sex
May 17, 2012 – No wonder the U.S. is being over-run by old people. Research from the National Cancer Institute and AARP
says the senior citizens that drink coffee - caffeinated or decaffeinated - have a lower risk of death. Combine that with earlier research
that says seniors had rather give up sex than coffee drinking and you have a an explosion of older people.
Coffee drinkers are less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes,
and infections, the researchers say, although the association was not seen for cancer.
Researchers hedge, however, that they can’t be sure whether these associations mean that drinking coffee actually makes
people live longer.
These results from a large study of older adults were observed after adjustment for the effects of other risk factors on
mortality, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
NCI-AARP Group Earlier Found Fiber Reduces Risk of
Dietary fiber is defined as ingestible parts of a plant and can be found in foods such as grains, fruits and vegetables.
Research has shown dietary fiber lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes and even some cancers but the benefits of fiber
do not stop here. Results from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study have shown that men and women consuming the most dietary fiber were 22% less
likely to die from any cause compared to those consuming the least dietary fiber. Also, people with higher dietary fiber intake were less
likely to die of CVD and infectious or respiratory diseases.
The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans
recommends consuming 14g/1000 calories of dietary fiber per day and encourages people to eat more fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and
other foods with naturally occurring fiber to meet the recommendation. For more information,
The results of the study were published today in the the New England Journal of Medicine.
Neal Freedman, Ph.D., Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI, and his colleagues examined the association
between coffee drinking and risk of death in 400,000 U.S. men and women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.
Information about coffee intake was collected once by questionnaire at study entry in 1995-1996. The participants were
followed until the date they died or Dec. 31, 2008, whichever came first.
The researchers found that the association between coffee and reduction in risk of death increased with the amount of
Relative to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups of coffee per day had
approximately a 10 percent lower risk of death. Coffee drinking was not associated with cancer mortality among women, but there was a slight
and only marginally statistically significant association of heavier coffee intake with increased risk of cancer death among men.
“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in America, but the association between coffee consumption and risk
of death has been unclear. We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of
different causes,’’ said Freedman.
“Although we cannot infer a causal relationship between coffee drinking and lower risk of death, we believe these results
do provide some reassurance that coffee drinking does not adversely affect health.”
The investigators caution that coffee intake was assessed by self-report at a single time point and therefore might not
reflect long-term patterns of intake. Also, information was not available on how the coffee was prepared (espresso, boiled, filtered, etc.);
the researchers consider it possible that preparation methods may affect the levels of any protective components in coffee.
“The mechanism by which coffee protects against risk of death -- if indeed the finding reflects a causal relationship --
is not clear, because coffee contains more than 1,000 compounds that might potentially affect health,’’ said Freedman.
“The most studied compound is caffeine, although our findings were similar in those who reported the majority of their
coffee intake to be caffeinated or decaffeinated.”
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health.
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