WBEZ | longevity http://www.wbez.org/tags/longevity Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Drink To Your Health: Study Links Daily Coffee Habit To Longevity http://www.wbez.org/news/drink-your-health-study-links-daily-coffee-habit-longevity-113850 <p><div id="res456238544" previewtitle="People who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of premature death than those who didn't drink, a new study finds."><div data-crop-type="">If you have a daily coffee habit, here&#39;s something to buzz about: A new&nbsp;<a href="http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/11/10/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017341.full.pdf+html?sid=5c4b9ef3-96dd-44b8-8188-0a3ca2ec8c9d">study</a>&nbsp;finds those cups of joe may help boost longevity.</div></div><p>&quot;In our study, we found people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 15 percent lower [risk of premature] mortality compared to people who didn&#39;t drink coffee,&quot; says one of the study authors, nutrition researcher&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/walter-willett/">Walter Willett</a>&nbsp;of the Harvard School of Public Health. Decaf drinkers also saw benefits.</p><p>The findings, published in the journal&nbsp;<em>Circulation</em>, build&nbsp;on&nbsp;a body of evidence linking a coffee habit to potential health benefits.</p><div id="res456265126"><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6823153479_8b38b208c1_z.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(flick/Alexander Baxevanis)" /></div></div></div><p>As we&#39;ve reported, previous research has pointed to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/03/15/174334493/a-daily-habit-of-green-tea-or-coffee-cuts-stroke-risk">decreased risk&nbsp;</a>of stroke. And, there&#39;s<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/11/15/245250931/how-coffee-citrus-and-nuts-help-cut-the-risk-of-diabetes">&nbsp;some evidence</a>&nbsp;that a coffee habit cuts the risk of Type 2 diabetes, too.</p><p>Now, of course, it&#39;s possible to overdo it with caffeine. Research has shown that consuming more than 400 milligrams of caffeine can interfere with sleep and create feelings of unease. And some of us are even more sensitive. (I feel jittery if I have more than one strong cup!)</p><p>One study found that 200 milligrams of caffeine (the equivalent of about two cups of coffee) is an optimal amount to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12424548">enhance cognitive function</a>&nbsp;and mood among sleep-deprived people. But we don&#39;t all metabolize caffeine the same way.</p><div id="res456266828">As we&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6155178">reported</a>, the caffeine amounts in coffee vary wildly. One&nbsp;<a href="http://jat.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/7/520.full.pdf+html">analysis</a>, conducted by Bruce Goldberger, found a 16-ounce cup of caffeinated coffee from Starbucks could contain anywhere from 250 milligrams to more than 500 milligrams of caffeine.</div><p>&quot;Not everyone reacts to coffee in the same way,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="https://webapp4.asu.edu/directory/person/2670673?pa=true">Andrew Maynard</a>, who studies risk assessment at Arizona State University. He summarizes the benefits documented in this study as &quot;small.&quot;</p><p>He says this study does not prove cause and effect between drinking coffee and living longer. Rather, it points to an&nbsp;association. &quot;There are a lot of unknowns as to what [may explain] the increase in life expectancy,&quot; Maynard says.</p><p>Got more questions? So did we. Here&#39;s our conversation about the findings with study co-author Walter Willett, edited for length and clarity.</p><p><strong>So, what do you think might explain this association?&nbsp;In the study, you point to compounds in coffee &mdash; such as lignans, </strong><strong>quinides</strong><strong> and magnesium &mdash; that may help reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. Prior&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15998896">studies&nbsp;</a>have pointed to these as well.</strong></p><p>We&#39;re not sure exactly how coffee is [linked] to all these benefits. The coffee bean itself is loaded with many different nutrients and phytochemicals. And my guess is that they&#39;re working together to have some of these benefits.</p><p>We [see] similar benefits from caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. That&#39;s important, because it suggests that caffeine is not responsible for [the benefit].</p><p><strong>So this may be welcome news to people who drink decaf?</strong></p><p>Yes, because too much [caffeinated] coffee can cause insomnia and loss of sleep, and that&#39;s not a good thing!</p><p>The reduced risk of death was not seen among the coffee drinkers in your study who were smokers or former smokers.&nbsp;</p><p>Definitely. It&#39;s extremely important to disentangle the effects of coffee from the effects of cigarette smoking.</p><p><strong>So, what&#39;s the take-home here? Is it that coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle?</strong></p><p>I think if people like coffee, it&#39;s fine to include it [as part of your daily habit]. So, certainly, [people] should not feel guilty about moderate coffee consumption. It definitely can be part of a healthy lifestyle.</p><p>I wouldn&#39;t suggest that someone who doesn&#39;t like coffee go out and drink it.</p><p><strong>Are you a coffee drinker? Are these findings likely to influence your own behaviors?</strong></p><p>Well, I really like a good cup of coffee. But if I have more than two cups a day, I really don&#39;t sleep as well. So, I&#39;ve been switching more toward decaf or half decaf/half regular.</p><p><strong>In this study, you also analyzed how coffee influenced the risk of specific diseases &mdash; or categories of diseases. What did you find?</strong></p><p>We went beyond total mortality and looked at specific causes of death. And we found that people who drink moderate amounts of coffee have lower risk of [death] from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurologic disease [such as Parkinson&#39;s] and suicide.</p><p>Your findings come from data from two&nbsp;<a href="http://www.channing.harvard.edu/nhs/">Nurses&#39; Health Studies</a>, which included about 167,000 women. And it also looked at the 40,000 men in the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hpfs/">Health Professionals Follow-up Study</a>.</p><p><strong>As you point out, the participants in these studies are about 95 percent white, largely middle-class and well-educated. Can you extrapolate to other populations?</strong></p><p>Yes, I&#39;m quite sure these findings would apply to other populations. This is a biological relationship. And we basically have a common biology.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/16/456191657/drink-to-your-health-study-links-daily-coffee-habit-to-longevity?ft=nprml&amp;f=456191657" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 10:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/drink-your-health-study-links-daily-coffee-habit-longevity-113850 Is longevity overrated? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/longevity-can-be-overrated-104023 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_janwillemsen.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="Dinner party celebration on Ikaria (Flickr/ janwillemsen)" /></p><p>A recent <em>New York Times Magazine</em> article celebrated the long lives of the inhabitants of Ikaria, a Greek island 30 miles off the western coast of Turkey. According writer Dan Buettner, Ikarians regularly live healthy, active, productive lives well into their 90s. Ikarians reach the age of 90 at two and a half times the rate that Americans do. Moreover, it is an ordinary thing to see individuals living vitally to a 100 years of age. As one islander put it, &ldquo;We just forget to die!&rdquo;</p><p>There is no one reason why so many Ikarians live to ripe-old-age, according to Buettner, but there are a whole series of factors that clearly have an impact on local longevity. Besides perfect weather and a pure water source, the island&#39;s chief assets are its isolation and dietary habits. According to Dr. Leriadis, an island physician, people on Ikaria don&rsquo;t live by a clock. They stay up late, wake up late, and always take naps. And, the basic Ikarian diet is made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, coffee and wine. Add to all of this a constant sea breeze that keeps the island free of air pollution and one has a natural recipe for longevity.</p><p>For me, the thought of living to the age of 100-plus is both a fascinating and frightening concept. Longevity is important, but&hellip; and the &ldquo;but&rdquo; here is really complicated. But, what will I do? But, will I be healthy? But, will I be able to live a relatively normal life? But, will I still have friends? But, what about my family? But, won&rsquo;t I be a burden and a nuisance to everyone? But, won&rsquo;t I outlive my retirement money?</p><p>I do not think that the goal of life and the only objective of medical science is longevity. Living longer without a purpose to live for seems somehow cruel to me. But perhaps I&rsquo;m being too small minded; Studs Terkel once told me that the best part of living a long life is that you may get a chance to use some of your experience and accumulated wisdom to help somebody else. Also, he said, with a bit of a twinkle in his eyes, if you&rsquo;re lucky enough to keep your health, you get to dance more, sing more and laugh more with others! Wise words indeed, from a guy who matched the longevity of those aged Greeks on the isle of Ikaria &mdash;&nbsp;Studs was 94 when he died.</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/longevity-can-be-overrated-104023