Coffee Might Help You Live Longer, According to Science | Keck Medicine of USC

Coffee Might Help You Live Longer, According to Science

Whether it’s caffeinated or decaffeinated, coffee is associated with lower mortality, suggests a study from the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Here’s another reason to start the day with a cup of joe: Scientists have found that people who drink coffee appear to live longer.

Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites.

People who consumed one cup of coffee a day were 12% less likely to die compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. Coffee lovers who drank two to three cups a day reduced their chance of death by 18%.

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The effects were present whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting that caffeine is not the cause, according to Veronica W. Setiawan, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School.

“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” Setiawan says. “If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”

The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, used data from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) Study, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School.

The ongoing MEC Study has more than 215,000 participants and bills itself as the most ethnically diverse study examining lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer.

Since the association was seen in four different ethnicities, Setiawan indicates it’s likely that the results apply to other ethnic groups as well.

“This study is the largest of its kind and includes groups who have very different lifestyles,” Setiawan explains. “Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you, whether you are white, African American, Latino or Asian.”

Benefits of drinking coffee

Previous studies by researchers from the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and other scientists have indicated that drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, several types of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Be careful, though — drinking piping hot coffee or beverages may cause cancer in the esophagus, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) panel of scientists that included Mariana Stern, PhD, a professor of clinical preventive medicine and urology at the Keck School.

The Keck School and USC Norris manage a state-mandated database called the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program, which provides scientists with essential statistics on cancer for a diverse population.

The physicians at Keck Medicine of USC offer exceptional, world-renowned medical care. If you are in the Los Angeles area, call  (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit to schedule an appointment.