New research explores the combination all of the research on coffee and all of the conclusions. The study findings, led by Dr. Robin Poole, a specialist registrar in public health at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, was published in The BMJ.
Dr. Poole and colleagues examined 201 meta-analyses of existing observational studies, and 17 meta-analyses of clinical trials. The team found that moderate coffee consumption is "more likely to benefit health than to harm it." Moderate coffee intake is considered to be about four or five daily cups, or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.
Researchers found coffee consumption was linked with a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and diabetes. Additionally, the beverage correlated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes, as well as mortality from cardiovascular disease in particular.
In fact, three cups of coffee per day lowered the risk of coronary heart disease by 19 per cent, and that of mortality from stroke by 30 per cent. A high coffee intake was linked with an 18 per cent decrease in cancer risk, compared with a low intake.
The authors caution that most existing studies on the benefits of coffee are merely observational and do not explain causality. “Robust randomized controlled trials are needed to understand whether the observed associations are causal."
In an accompanying editorial, Eliseo Guallar — from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, says, “Should doctors recommend drinking coffee to prevent disease? Should people start drinking coffee for health reasons? The answer to both questions is 'no.' The evidence is so robust and consistent across studies and health outcomes, however, that we can be reassured that drinking coffee is generally safe," he continues.
Finally, Guallar cautions that drinking coffee is sometimes linked with less healthful habits, such as eating sugary pastries or fatty products. "Coffee is safe, but hold the cake," he writes.
The benefits appear to outweigh the risks!
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