Coffee is one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world, and it has been the subject of intense study regarding its health effects.
Some studies suggest that coffee can be beneficial for health, while more recent evidence suggests that it may increase the risk of premature death.
So, what is the truth about coffee’s impact on health and longevity?
The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study
In the late 1980s, the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study was initiated to investigate the effects of lifestyle, diet, and medical history on health outcomes, including mortality. This large, long-term study has provided a wealth of data on the links between various food or drink items and the incidence of cancer and circulatory diseases.
In 2021, an analysis published in the journal Stroke used data from the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study to investigate the association between green tea and coffee consumption and mortality among individuals with and without a history of stroke or myocardial infarction (heart attack). The study found that green tea consumption was inversely associated with all-cause mortality, meaning increased tea drinking was linked to a reduced risk of death.
Coffee consumption, on the other hand, only showed an inverse association with all-cause mortality in individuals without a history of stroke or heart attack. These findings suggest that coffee may not be good for people with a personal history of circulatory diseases.
Coffee and High Blood Pressure
In 2022, a follow-up study was conducted using data from the same Japan Collaborative Cohort Study to investigate the impact of coffee and green tea consumption on cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality among people with severe hypertension (high blood pressure).
The study found that heavy coffee consumption was associated with an increased risk of CVD mortality among people with severe hypertension, but not people without normal blood pressure.
Green tea consumption was not similarly associated with an increased risk of CVD mortality across all categories of blood pressure. In fact, green tea appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, even for people with high blood pressure.
Limitations of These Studies
While the findings from the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study provide some evidence of coffee’s impact on health and longevity, it is important to consider the limitations of these studies.
The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study is an observational study, meaning that it cannot establish causality. Additionally, these studies rely on self-reported data on coffee and green tea consumption, which may be subject to recall bias.
Tips for Reducing Your Risk
Based on the current evidence, it seems that coffee may not be beneficial for everyone’s health.
Here are some tips for reducing your risk:
- Moderate your coffee intake: While it is difficult to determine the exact amount of coffee that may increase your risk of premature death, it is likely best to limit your intake to no more than one or two cups per day. If you have high blood pressure or a history of stroke, it may be best to avoid coffee altogether.
- Drink more green tea: Green tea may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, even for people with high blood pressure.
- Improve your overall lifestyle: While drinking coffee may have some impact on your health, it is important to consider your overall lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, managing stress, and not smoking are all important factors in reducing your risk of premature death.
The relationship between coffee and premature death is complex, and the evidence is not yet fully conclusive. However, studies suggest that coffee may not be good for everyone’s health, especially those with high blood pressure or a history of circulatory diseases.
Green tea appears to be a much better option for anyone seeking to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.
If you are concerned about your health, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider about what you can do to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of chronic illnesses.