Health Benefits Of Coffee: Reduced Mortality and Reduced Risk of Some Cancers

Health Benefits Of Coffee Drinking 3 – 4 Cups A Day 

Background: Coffee continues to be the most commonly consumed beverage throughout the world. Roasted coffee is a complex mixture of over 1,000 bioactive compounds. Some of these have potential for antioxidant (see posts on October 21, 2017, and October 17, 2016), anti-inflammatory, and antifibrotic (reduced scarring), or anticancer effects. However, there is some uncertainty as to the possible health benefits of coffee compared with possible harm.
Cup of Coffee has health benefits

Cup of coffee

Study: Dr. Robin Poole and colleagues from the Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom performed a review of various studies evaluating coffee consumption and health outcomes. The study was published on-line in British Medical Journal (doi 101136/bmj.j5024).   Results: There were a total of 201 reports (called meta-analysis) evaluating the effects of drinking coffee on health outcomes. Health Benefits: Compared to drinking no coffee, 3 – 4 cups per day reduced all causes of mortality by 17% and reduced cardiovascular disease by 15%. High versus low coffee consumption was associated with an 18% lower risk of cancer including the following: endometrial, prostate, oral, leukemia, melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, and liver. Coffee consumption was also consistently associated with a lower risk of gallstones, kidney stones, gout, and type 2 diabetes. Harmful Effects:  3 – 4 cups of coffee per day compared with no or low coffee use was associated with: low birth weight and preterm birth in pregnant women; and an increased risk of bone fracture in women but not in men.
Health benefits of coffee: cappuccino is a type of coffee

Traditional cappuccino with foam

Conclusions: The authors summarized the health benefits of coffee. Overall, drinking 3 – 4 cups per day was more likely to benefit health than cause harm. However, pregnant women should avoid/limit coffee use to reduce possible low birth weight and birth prior to the due date. My Comments: I posted the findings of this meta-analysis because the information about the health benefits of coffee is important for everyone, including those with COPD.  For those who have breathing difficulty due to asthma or COPD, it is important to remember that caffeine is a mild bronchodilator (opens the breathing tubes).  On January 18, 2015, I posted a brief review of this effect on my website. Hopefully, this will make it easier to breathe in addition to helping you to “wake up” in the morning along with multiple other health benefits described in this post.  

Donald A. Mahler, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. He works as a pulmonary physician at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH, where he is Director of Respiratory Services.