Woman sitting at a picnic table drinking coffee

Can drinking coffee help you live longer?

When you stagger out of bed in the morning, does that first cup of coffee bring you back to life? Well, guess what: It may actually be saving your life as well! According to two huge new studies, your coffee habit could be adding years to your life. Here’s what they found:
  • One study analyzed coffee consumption over an average of more than 16 years among more than 185,000 people of different ethnicities. The researchers found that drinking one cup of coffee a day—either caffeinated or decaf—was linked to a 12% lower risk of death at any age, from any cause. People drinking two or three cups a day had an 18% lower risk. The researchers say, “We found that coffee drinkers had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, from cancer, from stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and kidney disease.” 
  • The second study followed more than 450,000 people in ten European countries, also for an average of just over 16 years. Controlling for many factors including age, smoking, physical activity, and education, the researchers found that men drinking three or more cups of caffeinated or decaf coffee per day had an 18% lower risk of death at any age than non-drinkers did, while women had an 8% lower risk. The researchers also found that coffee drinkers had healthier liver enzymes and better glucose control.

The researchers in both studies do caution that there may be other factors involved here. However, these are just the latest of many studies showing coffee’s benefits. (I recently reviewed some of these benefits, including better health and faster weight loss,) And these new results are so amazing—especially since they involve hundreds of thousands of people, followed over many years—that I think coffee truly deserves the title of SUPERFOOD.

How to get the most from your coffee

There’s coffee, and then there’s good coffee. And to reap the most benefits from your coffee fix, you need to drink the good stuff. Here are two tips:
  • At coffee shops, avoid that stuff loaded with sugar, milk, and artificial flavors, and go for straight-up black coffee—or add coconut milk or almond milk if it’s available. 
  • At home, avoid buying super-cheap coffee (unless it’s all you can afford), and instead spend a few extra pennies on a better brand. Quality matters here.

When you drink coffee, be sure to listen to your body. Some people can handle lots of coffee, and others can’t—especially if it’s caffeinated. If you feel jittery, can’t sleep well, get an upset stomach, or experience heart palpitations, cut back or switch to decaf. (And if you’re pregnant or nursing, ask your doctor how much coffee is safe for you to drink.) Also, pace yourself.

I’ve learned the hard way to stop waiters from topping off my coffee every ten minutes. Otherwise, I wind up looking like that over-caffeinated squirrel in Over the Hedge. As long as you keep these tips in mind, coffee can be an awesome part of your daily health routine. So kick back and pour yourself a cup… it’ll give you a burst of energy, rev up your weight loss, and maybe even save your life!

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!