Some good news about one of our bad habits
Drinking coffee may not be as bad for our health as we thought. Until a recent NIH study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month, any possible health benefits of drinking coffee were clouded by the fact that regular coffee drinkers are also more likely to:
- Smoke cigarettes
- Eat fewer fruits and vegetables
- Exercise less
- Drink more alcohol
But for those of us do eat lots of fruits & veggies, exercise often, drink moderately and don’t smoke—drinking coffee may actually help us live longer. As reported by the New York Times (See link below):
Once the researchers controlled for those risks (listed above), the data showed that the more coffee a person consumed, the less likely he or she was to die from a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, infections and even injuries and accidents.
Over all, the risk of dying during the 14-year study period was about 10 percent lower for men and about 15 percent lower for women who drank anywhere from two cups to six or more cups of coffee a day. The association between coffee and lower risk of dying was similar whether the coffee drinker consumed caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
Does this mean you should drink more coffee? Probably not. Since improving my diet-style in 2003, I have been what you would call a light coffee drinker, meaning that I only drink one small cup daily—right here where I publish my daily blog at the crack of dawn. And I will continue to be a light coffee drinker even though the risk of dying was lower for those who drank two to six or more cups a day.
I remain convinced that what really makes me healthy is what we call our 4 leaves of health:
- Whole foods, plant-based diet
- Daily exercise
- Adequate rest (7 or 8 hours of sleep)
- A positive mental attitude
The Bottom Line. Drinking coffee may not be as bad as some thought. And, for me, maybe my daily cup of joe helps a little when it comes to that positive mental attitude. Finally, Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO) must be pleased with this latest study.
As for Howard, I am sitting in his Mystic, CT, store at this moment—sparkling sunrise, Johnny Cash tunes in the background, and my solo cup of joe about halfway finished. Just last week, there was a great article in TIME about Schultz and how he keeps improving on his enduring business model. And this latest bit of news about coffee helping you live longer didn’t hurt his plan a bit. From that article:
Its future once looked tepid, but Starbucks has become a company that retail analysts say will likely double its footprint over the next two years, in part by replicating the coffee experience in other categories.
That article had one factoid that surprised me. Almost as many Americans (25%) get their coffee at Starbucks as they do at home (29%). And if you combine the top three sources of coffee (Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonalds), they account for a whopping 52% of all coffee consumed in the United States. Amazing.
- Link to the New York Times article: Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer
- Link to the TIME article: (you must be a subscriber to read all of it)
In closing, have a nice day, enjoy your coffee and make a decision to really take charge of your health.
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to email@example.com
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation