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A cup of coffee can help the elderly live longer

Jenny Decker RN's picture
A cup of coffee

A new study has demonstrated that drinking coffee can help the elderly live longer lives.

In a research study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, drinking coffee was linked to helping the elderly live longer lives. The study, from the National Institute of Health’s AARP Diet and Health, made the discovery by accident when the researchers were looking for links to why coffee might be unhealthy. The suggestion that drinking coffee could be risky behavior was debunked. It was found that those who drank 6 cups a day were 10 to 15 percent less likely to die than those who did not drink coffee at all. It was also noted that the more cups of coffee, the more likely one might live longer.

The study followed over 200,000 men and over 173,000 women aged 50-71 years. Excluded from the study were people with heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Although 13 percent of those who started the study passed away before it was complete, the findings were still significant.

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Coffee comes from coffee trees that can grow up to 30 feet tall and live for 20 to 30 years. These trees are covered in dark green leaves that are waxy in appearance and grow in pairs. Coffee cherries grow along the huge leaves. From the flowering blossom to the complete fruit, it can take a year for the cherry to mature. The tree can live in any climate that does not have harsh fluctuations in temperature but it prefers to grow in mild climates with rich soil. Frequent rain and shady sun are also a favorite of the coffee tree.

People who are enjoying and benefiting from coffee everyday can all trace the roots of the history of coffee to the Ethiopian plateau where an ancient man took care of goats. One day he noticed that when his goats ate the cherries from a certain tree they become so full of energy they couldn't sleep at night. Being his duty to report any strange incidents, he went directly to the abbot of his nearest monastery. The abbot then took the cherries and made them into a drink. He found it kept him awake and alert during his long evening of prayers. He then shared this with other monks. It became so popular, that soon people all over tried the new drink. The news then moved east to the Arabian peninsula where it became more commercial eventually spreading throughout the world.

While drinking several cups of coffee in this study was found to decrease a person’s risk of dying by 10 percent, experts advise that a person can become dependent on the drink and the effects of the caffeine. If trying to decrease the amount of consumption, the person should expect to have headaches. The researchers performed what was the largest analysis to date that suggested that coffee may have some health benefits. It is not known yet what helps the elderly live longer when they drink coffee, but further research may find what it is.

"Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality"
Neal D. Freedman, Ph.D., et al.
May 17, 2012

National Coffee Association
The History of Coffee