Coffee definitely helps you live longer, according to science

Two definitive studies of hundreds of thousands of coffee drinkers prove that coffee makes you live longer.

Conventional wisdom is that coffee drinking is bad for you. Doctors, nutritionists, and self-help gurus (including, for instance, Tony Robbins) have railed against coffee for decades, nay, centuries.

Well, conventional wisdom about coffee is total BS, according to two huge studies conducted in the U.S. and Europe and funded by some of the most reputable medical research organizations in the world.

Far from being a health risk, drinking coffee has now been proven--beyond all reasonable doubt--as a good way to help you live longer.

The European Study

A huge team of scientists funded by the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and the International Agency for Research on Cancer tracked the coffee-drinking habits of 521,330 individuals in 10 European countries.

Related: Ways coffee makes you a better person

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Coffee can help you see the positives. 

Let's give it up for coffee's ability to help you identify the positive things! A small study found that, when tasked with identifying positive and negative words, study participants who took the equivalent of two to three cups of caffeine identified positive words and images faster than negative ones. Think of coffee as a silver bullet for optimism.

Coffee gives you an energy jolt in as little as 10 minutes.

Hello, instant energy. Studies show that caffeine from coffee hits the bloodstream in mere minutes, though it will take a bit longer to feel its full effect. You'll feel unstoppable (i.e. your most alert) roughly 30 to 45 minutes after downing your java, research suggests. Patience is a virtue, okay? 

Coffee helps you poop.

Coffee wakes up your mind and your bowels. Three out of every 10 people find that coffee has a laxative effect, and researchers have found that coffee gets the digestive system going by stimulating the "distal colon," the Washington Post noted. Decaf can still do the trick, too.

Coffee makes you more alert when driving.

If you've got a long, monotonous drive ahead of you, you may want to down that caffeinated slurry at the highway rest stop. One study with 24 participants found that just one cup of coffee helped sleep-deprived drivers have better control of their vehicles and weave less frequently.

The smell of coffee can relax you.
Start feeling revived the moment you smell coffee brewing? It's not just in your head. One study on rats found that a whiff of hot coffee changed the proteins and genes in the animals' brains. Stressed rats exhibited more relaxed brains after smelling coffee compared to a control group of stressed rats that did not smell coffee.
Coffee helps you focus — even when you're sleep deprived.

You probably don't need us to tell you that the caffeinated drink wakes up your brain. But science confirms it does — by a long shot. One study found that 200 mg of caffeine (equivalent to about two cups of coffee that have 95 mg of caffeine each) helped sleep-deprived U.S. Navy SEALs have better memory and brain functioning.

Coffee makes you smarter.

Coffee won't magically give you extra IQ points. But the stimulant can make help your brain be more efficient with its resources it, CNN reported.

"When you're sleep-deprived and you take caffeine pretty much anything you measure will improve: reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning — most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence," Harris Lieberman, a research psychologist at the Military Nutrition Division of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, told CNN. "And most Americans are sleep-deprived most of the time." Guilty as charged...

Coffee can help you live longer.
We'll all die one day, but studies show a daily coffee habit is linked to a longer life. You can't achieve immortality with a macchiato but then again, can't hurt to try... if you're into not dying.
It cuts your risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are serious diseases that change how your body processes glucose (blood sugar) and negatively impact life expectancy. Researchers found that drinking two cups of coffee a day was associated with a 12% decreased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Coffee might help prevent depression.

A jolt of energy makes most of us instantly happier, but coffee could have positive long term effects on our moods. One study found that women who drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day had 15% decreased risk for developing depression during the 10 years of the study. Women who drank decaf didn't exhibit the lower risk for developing depression.

Coffee protects your brain from aging.
To stave off conditions like Alzheimers and dementia, drinking some extra cups of joe might help. One study found that middle-aged people who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a decreased risk of developing dementia later in life.
Coffee makes you a better athlete.
Trying to go HAM during your next gym sesh? Pre-game your workout with coffee and you'll perform better. Science says the caffeine in coffee can increase endurance. Now run, Forest, run [to the closest coffee shop].
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The results, published two days ago in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that "coffee drinking was associated with reduced risk for death from various causes [and that] this relationship did not vary by country."

If you're curious about the science, here are the full results (emphasis mine):

During a mean follow-up of 16.4 years, 41,693 deaths occurred. Compared with nonconsumers, participants in the highest quartile of coffee consumption had statistically significantly lower all-cause mortality (men: HR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.82 to 0.95]; P for trend < 0.001; women: HR, 0.93 [CI, 0.87 to 0.98]; P for trend = 0.009). Inverse associations were also observed for digestive disease mortality for men (HR, 0.41 [CI, 0.32 to 0.54]; P for trend < 0.001) and women (HR, 0.60 [CI, 0.46 to 0.78]; P for trend < 0.001). Among women, there was a statistically significant inverse association of coffee drinking with circulatory disease mortality (HR, 0.78 [CI, 0.68 to 0.90]; P for trend < 0.001) and cerebrovascular disease mortality (HR, 0.70 [CI, 0.55 to 0.90]; P for trend = 0.002) and a positive association with ovarian cancer mortality (HR, 1.31 [CI, 1.07 to 1.61]; P for trend = 0.015). In the EPIC Biomarkers subcohort, higher coffee consumption was associated with lower serum alkaline phosphatase; alanine aminotransferase; aspartate aminotransferase; -glutamyltransferase; and, in women, C-reactive protein, lipoprotein(a), and glycated hemoglobin levels.

(Note: the term "inverse association" means fewer cases of the disease among coffee drinkers as opposed to abstainers.)

The American Study

Another huge team of scientists, this time funded by the National Cancer Institute, tracked the coffee-drinking habits of 185,855 African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and whites aged 45 to 75 years, again for 16 years.

The results, also published two days ago in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that "higher consumption of coffee was associated with lower risk for death." Once again, here are the full results (emphasis mine):

58,397 participants died during 3,195,484 person-years of follow-up (average follow-up, 16.2 years). Compared with drinking no coffee, coffee consumption was associated with lower total mortality after adjustment for smoking and other potential confounders (1 cup per day: hazard ratio [HR], 0.88 [95% CI, 0.85 to 0.91]; 2 to 3 cups per day: HR, 0.82 [CI, 0.79 to 0.86]; 4 cups per day: HR, 0.82 [CI, 0.78 to 0.87]; P for trend < 0.001). Trends were similar between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. Significant inverse associations were observed in 4 ethnic groups; the association in Native Hawaiians did not reach statistical significance. Inverse associations were also seen in never-smokers, younger participants (<55 years), and those who had not previously reported a chronic disease. Among examined end points, inverse associations were observed for deaths due to heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease.

What's wonderful about these studies that, while many things that are "good for you" (like exercise or eating vegetables) are sort of a pain in the tuchus, drinking coffee (especially when brewed correctly) is one of the true pleasures of life.

Note that neither of these studies were funded by the coffee industry. Quite the contrary. The funders are among the most reputable scientific organizations in the world. The results were definitely not foregone conclusions.

So, if you haven't already done so, refill (or top off) your mug and drink a toast to science.

Bottoms up!

Related: Cities for coffee fanatics:

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Best cities for coffee fanatics
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Best cities for coffee fanatics

10. Denver, Colorado

Denver fell two spots this year to round out the top 10 best cities for coffee lovers. The Mile High City has four local roasters, which is more than many cities in the country. Plus, it has top 20 scores in both total number of coffee shops and cafes, and coffee shops and cafes per 100,000 residents.

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9. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is steeped in coffee history. It is the birthplace of world-famous brands like Folgers and MJB. Coffee culture in San Francisco, despite its long history, has also kept up with modern trends. There are more coffee shops and cafés per residents in San Francisco than any other city in the country at 302 per 100,000 residents.

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8. Oakland, California

Oakland comes in one spot above its Bay Area neighbor to claim eighth place. Oakland is the birthplace of notable coffee spots like Blue Bottle Coffee and Oakland Coffee Works (founded by members of the band Green Day). Oakland also has some of the most enthusiastic coffee lovers in the country. Oakland residents Google “coffee” 39% more than the U.S. average.

Check out our budget calculator.

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7. Tampa, Florida

Tampa is a newcomer to this year’s top 10 best cities for coffee fanatics. Coffee drinkers in Tampa have access to great and also cheap coffee. Tampa has the lowest average cost of a cappuccino in our top 10 at $3.53. Plus 33% of its coffee places are rated 4.5 stars or higher. The one concern may be the lack of variety, as there are relatively fewer coffee places in Tampa as compared to the other cities in our top 10.

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6. Austin, Texas

Folks in Austin have an abundance of options when it comes to great coffee. Over 33% of coffee places here are rated 4.5 stars or above. Vintage Heart Coffee may be the best among a great bunch, with Yelp users claiming it serves the best cold brew in Austin. A good cold brew is a must in a place like Austin, which can get pretty steamy in the summer.

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5. New Orleans, Louisiana

For coffee fanatics looking for something different, head to New Orleans. The local custom here is to mix chicory in with the coffee to create a unique flavor and experience. Why this is done is a bit of a long story, but if you are in town be sure to give it a try. New Orleans also has seven roasters local to the city so getting the freshest, most flavorful coffee beans should be no trouble.

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4. Portland, Oregon

Portland ranks fourth in this year’s study, down one spot from last year. If you are a coffee tourist, Portland may be the best city to explore first. It has the highest percentage of highly rated coffee places in the country. Portland is also the hometown of famed roaster Stumptown Coffee Roasters, as well as 12 other roasters, a good sign for people who love their coffee super fresh.

Moving to Portland? Here are 15 things you should know.

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3. Honolulu, Hawaii

If you are a java lover in Honolulu, you aren’t alone. Google searches for “coffee” in Hawaii’s capital are 84% higher than the national average. For coffee fanatics looked to discuss their fanaticism over a cup of coffee, opportunities will be plentiful. Honolulu has the fifth-most coffee places per 100,000 residents at 243.

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2. San Diego, California

San Diego ranks as the second-best city for coffee fanatics. Last year, it took the sixth spot in our list. Few cities were able to beat San Diego coffee spots in terms of quality. Data from Yelp shows that 37% of coffee places in San Diego score above 4.5 stars. Coffee fanatics visiting San Diego may want to check out Holsem Coffee or Bean Bar.

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1. Seattle, Washington

Unsurprisingly, the birthplace of Starbucks, Caffe Vita, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Tully’s Coffee is ranked as the best city for coffee fanatics. Try as you might it’s tough to see what a coffee fanatic would not love about Seattle. It ranks highly in every single one of our metrics except price. In terms of availability, Seattle has the third-most coffee places per capita in our study and in terms of quality, 31% of its coffee places were rated a minimum of 4.5 stars by Yelp users.

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