Could Drinking Coffee Extend Your Lifespan?

By Ellie Smith

4 weeks ago

5 potential health benefits of your morning cuppa

Many of us need our morning brew just to wake us up each day – but a new study has found the benefits of coffee could extend far past that. Research published in BMC Public Health suggests regular coffee consumption may help offset some of the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle, which is linked with a number of chronic diseases. And that’s not the only benefit: coffee is associated with a whole host of health perks, when consumed moderately.

New Study Suggests Coffee May Increase Longevity

With so many of us doing desk-based jobs nowadays, the reality of modern life is that most people are spending too much time sitting down. Of course we should all be trying to move more, however new research suggests drinking coffee could help offset some of the effects of inactivity. Scientists at Soochow University in China have published a report saying that sitting for more than eight hours a day may increase a person’s mortality risk – but people who drank coffee appeared to have a lower mortality risk compared to those who did not drink it. 

‘Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world… and growing evidence also suggests that regular coffee consumption can reduce morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases due to the powerful antioxidant properties of coffee components,’ said Bingyan Li, professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene in the School of Public Health at Soochow University. ‘Therefore, even if coffee has a small health-boosting effect, it may have a significant impact on public health.’

She adds: ‘The benefits of coffee consumption in improving overall survival in adults compared to sedentary behavior are manifold. Coffee consumption reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, which aggravates inflammation. An inverse relationship between coffee consumption with all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality has been found in adults in many studies.’

Clearly, the study is not suggesting drinking coffee allows us to sit around all day – the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week, including some kind of physical activity every day. However, the research does reiterate that moderate consumption of coffee could benefit our health.



Other Health Benefits Of Coffee

Boosts brain health

Moderate caffeine consumption has been linked to enhanced memory function and mood, and some studies have found it could lower your chances of developing a neurodegenerative disease like dementia. 

May help with heart protection

For decades, coffee was linked to poor heart health. However, recent research has suggested it could actually protect our most treasured organ: a study from the University of Colorado found coffee drinkers may have a lowered risk of heart failure.

Improves gut health

Drinking coffee may positively influence our gut bacteria. As the Zoe website explains: ‘Caffeine activates contractions in your digestive tract, while other compounds in coffee stimulate the production of stomach acid, which both help move food through your gut and keep you regular.’

Can improve mood

Everyone reacts differently to caffeine, and for some people it can cause jittery feelings (particularly when consumed on an empty stomach). However, for those who tolerate it well, coffee can help you feel more alert and energised – and even boost mood. One review from China found coffee drinkers had a lowered risk of depression, which is likely down to the caffeine increasing the expression of neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine.

What Are The Risks Of Drinking Coffee?

It’s important to note that coffee has been linked with health problems too, due to its high caffeine content. It can temporarily raise blood pressure, and boiled, unfiltered coffee may raise your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. The amount we drink is important: up to 400mg of caffeine appears to be safe for most healthy adults, which roughly equates to four cups a day. Overconsumption can cause headaches, insomnia and irritability. If you are pregnant, the NHS recommends having no more than 200mg per day.