That’s right. Yet another coffee blog. But this time, I want to talk about what no one in this class has explored: whether or not DRINKING COFFEE is GOOD FOR YOU. I became interested in this topic after realizing how much coffee I’d been drinking lately. While part of me thought, “This is definitely very bad for my health,” my optimistic self hoped: “Maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe there ARE benefits to this habit.” A thought that was born out of sheer despair, but perhaps has some validity to it.
I’m going to attempt to answer this highly enticing question: are there any health benefits to drinking coffee? (In a previous blog, I discussed the negative impacts of caffeine consumption. For argument’s sake, I am going to focus primarily on any potential benefits). The null hypothesis would be: there are no health benefits to drinking coffee. And the alternative hypothesis: drinking coffee has health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some data.
So what is the benefit to drinking ground beans? Coffee is used primarily as a stimulant or energy booster. It can help college students focus during class, and it can fuel your muscles through a workout or simply walking to and from lectures. Obviously, coffee provides very valuable short-term benefits, but can it actually fortify your health?
While coffee hasn’t been shown to give users physical benefits (e.g. stronger muscles, better hair, more handsome, etc.), it has been “associated with lower risk of total mortality,” according to the results of one study. A team of researchers conducted a longitudinal, observational study beginning in 1984. Subjects were examined in 3 groups NHS (Nurses’ Health Study), HPFS (Health Professionals Follow-up Study), and NHS 2. They self-reported the amount of total coffee consumption, both caffeinated and decaffeinated. Results came back from 200,000 men and women throughout their lifetime. After 4,690,072 “person-years” of tracking the subjects, over 19,000 women and over 12,000 men died.
The researchers found that, although the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality was non-linear, consuming between 1 and 5 cups of coffee was associated with a lower risk of mortality. To that end, neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and suicide displayed noteworthy inverse relationships with coffee consumption. In other words, the more coffee subjects drank, the less likely they were to commit suicide. The study, entitled “Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts,” also listed other diseases inversely associated with coffee consumption including liver cancer, lethal prostate cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
So although coffee won’t give you superpowers, drinking these liquified beans might be in the best interest of your health. And while the study was rather inconclusive, researchers have reason to speculate that drinking more coffee could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Because of the inverse relationship between coffee consumption and aforementioned diseases (p-value: 0.022), we can effectively reject the null hypothesis, that any benefits from coffee drinking is due to chance.
I expected there to be tangible health benefits from my research, but the results of the study were sufficient for my curiosity. According to this study, coffee drinkers have been shown to be less susceptible to certain diseases. My recommendation: drinking between 1-5 cups of coffee per day is ok (2 seems reasonable), but don’t expect your spidey senses to start tingling.
old coffee graphic: http://cimbaliuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/is-coffee-healthy.jpg
fat spidey: http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/f7/f7a1ddf5abcc4bd46c4965e33e3cd8f7c85015eee0135a5576769b51c8fe51bb.jpg
study used: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/11/10/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017341.abstract