Surprising New Evidence About the Incredible Benefits of Coffee!

Every morning, when Michael rolls out of bed, he has one thing on his mind. It’s the one thing that he believes helps him stay awake and alert, and enables him to function at his best all day. It’s not a prescription or over-the-counter drug, or a vitamin or holistic treatment, but it may as well be, with all the benefits it provides Michael and others who consume it.

Before he reaches his office, Michael goes to the Starbuck’s across the street. The barista knows his order by heart, and gets his large dark coffee ready for him. He grabs another few cups at work during the day. Feeling both fueled and happy, he knows he can have a productive work day.

Similar to Michael, about 83% of adults in the U.S. drink coffee. It’s a great way to start your day, finish off a big meal, or provide a little pick-me-up in the afternoon. Too much of anything can of course be harmful, and too much caffeine can cause jitters, nervousness, insomnia, dehydration, and a host of other health problems. However, despite the possible downsides, a recent study shows that moderate coffee consumption may actually help you live longer and with less disease! There are other studies that show that moderate coffee consumption can also reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and provide benefits for a host of other diseases – all while boosting energy and improving moods.

The recent study showing that coffee can actually increase your life expectancy was published in the Annals Of Internal Medicine on July 10, 2017. In this study, researchers:

• looked at over half a millions patients (521,330 participants) in 10 different European countries;
• ranked participants by coffee consumption: 3+ cups of coffee per day, 1 – 2 cups of coffee per day, and non-coffee drinkers; and
• followed participants for over 16 years and analyzed mortality and cause-of-death data.

Higher coffee intake was significantly correlated with lower death rates from many causes, and this relationship did not vary by country. Drinking 3 or more cups of coffee a day reduced mortality from ALL causes by 12% for men and 7% for women. Some causes of mortality were majorly reduced — men who drank at least 3 cups of coffee a day had an almost 60% lower risk of death from digestive diseases than men who did not drink coffee, and women had a 40% reduction in death from digestive disease.

Women also enjoyed a huge benefit from coffee drinking in terms of cardiovascular health — reducing risk of death from heart disease and stroke significantly.

Interestingly, the benefit in this study was the same for decaffeinated coffee as for caffeinated coffee . . . so if (like me) you love the taste of coffee (or want the extra life span benefits of drinking coffee) but don’t want the caffeine rush or risk of caffeine addiction by drinking that many cups of coffee a day — decaf provides similar benefits.

Here are five other things that a few cups of coffee a day may help prevent:

1. Alzheimer’s and Other Types of Dementia
A study published in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease shows consuming 3-5 cups of caffeinated coffee per day avoided the onset of Alzheimer’s disease for all participants in the two-to-four years of study follow-up. Coffee appeared to be the major or only source of caffeine for the individuals studied. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami, and these researchers say this controlled study provides the first direct evidence that caffeine/coffee intake is associated with a reduced risk or delayed onset of dementia.

The study followed 124 patients, aged 65 years and older, and found that of those participants who had blood caffeine levels above a critical level, NOT ONE single participant developed dementia during the 4-year study period. For patients with lower blood caffeine levels, half of them did develop dementia in the same time period.
One of the researchers cautioned that “We are not saying that moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from Alzheimer’s disease . . . However, we firmly believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s or delay its onset.” In fact, according to these researchers, “moderate daily consumption of caffeinated coffee appears to be the best dietary option for long-term protection against Alzheimer’s memory loss.”

These researchers report that in addition to Alzheimer’s disease, moderate caffeinated coffee intake appears to reduce the risk of several other diseases of aging, including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, and breast cancer. However, they caution that supporting studies for these benefits have all been observational (uncontrolled), and controlled clinical trials are needed to definitively demonstrate therapeutic value.
Another 2012 study tracking the health and coffee consumption of more than 400,000 older adults for 13 years was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and found that coffee drinkers had reduced risk of dying from heart disease, lung disease, pneumonia, stroke, diabetes, infections, and even injuries and accidents.

2. Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s is the second-most-common neurodegenerative disease, following Alzheimer’s. Parkinson’s is caused by the death of certain neurons in the brain. As these neurons die, the risk of losing control over motor functions increases.

Luckily, caffeinated coffee has been shown to help prevent Parkinson’s. Several studies show that caffeine is responsible for lowering the risk of Parkinson’s and may even reduce that risk up to 60%!

3. Cancer
Liver cancer ranks third for cancer-related deaths, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth. In addition, Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and it is growing very quickly (about 80% of all new cancer diagnoses.) In fact, the prevalence of basal cell carcinoma is soon to be equivalent to all other cancers combined.
In the case of liver cancer, studies show that coffee reduces the risk up to 40%! One study mentioned that coffee has been shown to reduce the effects of chemical carcinogenesis in liver tissue. Several other studies show that four or more cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk of cirrhosis up to a whopping 80%. Another study showed that for those who drink four to five cups of coffee a day, the risk for colorectal cancer is reduced.

When it comes to basal cell carcinoma, a study following more than 110,000 participants found that three cups of coffee a day reduces the incidence of the most common malignant tumor on earth by 17%. That’s millions and millions of skin cancers potentially prevented. Sadly, coffee did not appear to have a protective benefit against melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma.

How? Caffeine has long been known to trigger apoptosis — increasing the skin’s ability to clear away old and damaged cells, thus sloughing off precancerous and cancerous cells that are no longer healthy.

4. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95% of all diagnosed diabetes cases in adults. One meta-study looked at more than 450,000 individuals and found that each cup of coffee was linked to a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Depression
People between the ages of 45 and 60 have a higher chance of becoming depressed, and approximately 4.1% of the U.S. is struggling with clinical depression. Women are more often diagnosed with depression in the U.S., although a recent study found that alternative symptoms could be the reason that more men haven’t been diagnosed.

A Harvard study looked at how coffee affects the chance of women being diagnosed as clinically depressed. The study found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day actually had a 20% lower risk of being depressed. A different study looked at a sample of 208,424 people and found that the same number — four or more cups of Joe per day — was linked to a 53% decrease in suicide.

Just as you should ask your doctor or a nutritionist before you decide to up you coffee intake to stave off disease and maximize your longevity, it is crucial to contact your lawyer to plan for your future and for the future of your loved ones. Our firm is dedicated to helping protect seniors and their loved ones by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. As always, if you have not done Long-Term Care Planning or Estate Planning, or had your older documents reviewed in the past several years (or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care), please call us as soon as possible to make an appointment for a no-cost initial consultation:

Fairfax Elder Law Attorney: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Elder Law Attorney: 540-479-1435
Rockville Elder Law Attorney: 301-519-8041
DC Elder Law Attorney: 202-587-2797

Comments

  1. Michael King says:

    Evan Farr,

    I am an avid reader of your newsletter and appreciate the wisdom and advice you present on a variety of topics, especially in the elder law category. In the coffee category however, there are a few pitfalls in the studies performed to prove the benefits of coffee that are not commonly recognized by the lay person enjoying that warm tasty cup regularly.

    You may want to know about the flip side of coffee, that the private researchers and government agencies funding studies such as this would not like for you to know.

    To provide a basis of understanding it is helpful to know who funded a study and what are their special interests.

    On top of that, most of the coffee studies are actually funded by companies that have a profit motive in the outcome of the study, like Kraft and Nestles’. You will find reference to research funded by Nestle’, and to Kraft Foods Global’s “coffee and wellness group” that funded research into coffee’s antioxidant benefits in this article: https://www.chemistryworld.com/section/feature/chemistry-in-every-cup/3004537.article

    Second, to demonstrate how studies can be biased, shaping a study to eliminate contrary information, etc., and therefore so limited as to not provide reliable, realistic data, here are the admitted limitations of this study:

    “Limitations:
    Reverse causality may have biased the findings; however, results did not differ after exclusion of participants who died within 8 years of baseline. Coffee-drinking habits were assessed only once.”

    Reverse causality is defined here:
    https://www.pritikin.com/what-is-reverse-causation
    and has little to do with excluding participants who fell outside of baseline. It is related to whether a participant made changes in their program after the initial study began, and how that might change the resultant findings. This data was not collected, thus it could not be included in determining the findings quoted at the end.

    Once a person sees trouble in their health, it is common to make adjustments in diet to exclude food and drink aggravating their condition. Longevity would certainly be affected by such a change. Many have to reduce their coffee habit just to survive due to its acidity and numerous other drawbacks.

    In addition to assessing coffee-drinking habits only once, given the lack of followup on changes in the participants program over the years or the inclusion of other more significant factors, like dietary sugar intake, meat & fat intake, dairy intake, how each participant modified their coffee (sugar, cream, etc.), the findings of the study are not conclusive regarding the specific subject of longevity and coffee consumption.

    How many of the longer lived subjects had given up coffee and went vegetarian? Or would they be excluded from the study results, not being within baseline?

    Their Conclusion:
    Coffee drinking was associated with reduced risk for death from various causes. This relationship did not vary by country.

    Their findings are just speculation based on incomplete data.

    As a long time coffee drinker, recently quit, I wrote an article on some shocking revelations that finally pulled me away from the addiction, notably that an MRI before and after a single cup of coffee resulted in a 50% drop in blood flow to the brain (explaining why fuzzy brain from a cup of coffee was actually getting worse over the years (I am 63)).

    Another shocking study that made me change my habit was that long time coffee drinkers can have holes in their SPECT brain scans similar to alcoholics. (Good news is, that a year or two on a clean diet, coffee-free, can rebuild the brain.)

    I can also attest to experiencing numerous side effects from drinking coffee that got worse over the years until it was getting intolerable. Now I have a better idea why and have documented this in my article. Here’s the link:
    https://www.vitalityherbsandclay.com/blogs/vital-health-newsletter-blog/is-coffee-really-a-health-food

    Thought you would want to know the whole story, given your thoroughness, and obvious compassion, in the area of your practice (which is why I enjoy reading your articles).

    All the best,
    Michael King

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