Could Coffee Lower Your Risk of Death? Not So Fast

On the long list of foods and drinks Americans can’t live without, coffee is at the very top. About 83 percent of U.S. adults say they drink the caffeinated beverage, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2013 online survey. Each day, Americans as a whole consume 400 million cups of coffee, which means they go through an estimated 400 billion cups over the course of one year. Bottom line: We’re unapologetically obsessed.

As a result, there’s no shortage of research spent analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of this roasted and ground beans. But the headlines couldn’t be more confusing. Who’s with me on that?

Just the other day a new study was published revealing that high coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of death. That’s a pretty bold statement. Let’s look a bit closer at the research.

The observational study involved nearly 20,000 participants who had been part of another study, called the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Project, since 1999. The average age of the participants upon their enrollment was 37.7 years old.

Upon entering the study, each participant provided information on their coffee consumption, as well as their lifestyle, sociodemographic factors (age, race, ethnicity, language, etc.), physical measurements and known health conditions. Follow-ups were conducted with the participants over the 10-year period and researchers made note of the 337 individuals who had passed away during that time.

Researchers discovered that participants who drank at least four cups of coffee a day had a 64 percent lower risk of death than those who never or, hardly ever, drank coffee. Another interesting finding was that, for participants 45 or older, drinking two additional cups a day was associated with a 30 percent lower risk of mortality. It’s worth noting, however, that they didn’t see the significant connection in the younger participants.

So what does this mean for java feins? Not much more than we already know: that high-quality, preferably organic, coffee can be beneficial in moderation. I still wouldn’t go as far to recommend tossing back more than 4 to 6 ounces a day, however. If you’re craving a hot beverage, reach for black or green tea the rest of the day.

The most important thing to consider when it comes to sipping your daily cup of joe is what you’re putting into it. Not too many folks like to take their coffee black—I get it—but all those sugar-laden creamers and sweeteners, not to mention the whipped cream, means tons of unnecessary processed sugars and fat.

Instead, I recommend adding a little coconut oil to my coffee. It helps stabilize blood sugar levels and curbs cravings. For an added flavor boost, add some cinnamon or cocoa powder.

For more healthy swaps and tricks of the trade, check out my newest book, Super Woman Rx, which just came out this month!