by JASON AQUINO Staff Writer
The National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland confirmed on May 17 that people who drink coffee can live longer as opposed to people who do not. This is due to the large number of antioxidants found in the beverage that may improve a person’s health when applied to a regular diet. Men who drink five to six cups of coffee each day are lowering their death rate by 12 percent. A woman’s death rate will go down 15 percent if they drink four to five cups of coffee each day. Freshman Nicole Farganis said, “It’s reassuring to know that I can do something to ensure I live longer, but it’s scary to think how a stimulant can have such a long term affect.” Dr. Lawrence Krakoff, a cardiologist from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, examined the discovery made by the institute. He wanted to know if large amounts of coffee could be consumed without harming an individual, and how the coffee helps improve his or her health. Krakoff said, “For those who drink coffee, there is no reason to stop. Periodically, someone will say it is bad, but I think this strengthens the view that it is not harmful. Whether it’s beneficial- without knowing the cause, it is hard to say. I would not encourage people to suddenly drink a lot of coffee with the expectation of the benefit.” The New England Journal of Medicine also suggested that coffee drinkers may live longer than non-coffee drinkers. Researchers from the National Institute of Health analyzed the coffee drinking habits of 400,000 people of ages 50 to 71 for over 13 years. It is true that coffee is a source for caffeine, a stimulant that many people depend on. However, it also has a lot of antioxidants and fibers, which are what account for some of coffee’s newly considered health benefits. Coffee may have an equal amount of antioxidants as a cup of green tea would have. Those antioxidants are nutrients that help prevent tissue damage caused by molecules called “oxygen-free” molecules. Antioxidants in coffee have been linked to other health benefits, including protection against heart disease and stroke. They were also found to in more than 100 different foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, and beverages. The findings were compared to an existing database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and analyzed with how much food was was eaten in the United States. Coffee was at the top of the list, on the combined basis of both antioxidants per serving size with how often it was eaten. It outranked other antioxidant-containing food products like tea, milk, chocolate and cranberries. Freshman Natalie Collazo said, “I believe that the nutrients we absorb to create energy to participate in activities does in fact lead to a healthy and longer life.” A study done in 2006 by researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania had also found that coffee provided more than just a “morning boost”. It confirmed that coffee is still the number one source of antioxidants in the diet of many people in the United States, and its consumption rate is rising. Over half of Americans drink it every day, according to the National Coffee Association. Coffee has some valid health benefits by preventing the spread of diseases and harmful conditions such as heart and respiratory disease, diabetes, and strokes. However, the beverage has not been proven to prevent cancer.