Widgets Magazine

Drink coffee and live longer? Community responds

Coffee can not only extend the amount of time one stays awake but also one’s lifespan, according to a recent European study. By tracking the lifespans and coffee-drinking habits of Europeans from 10 different countries, researchers have found that people who drink three cups of coffee a day tend to live longer.

The study in question was initially published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. It covered healthy people over the age of 35 from 10 European countries, and the researchers studied deaths over an average of 16 years. Besides an extended lifespan, other perceived benefits to drinking coffee included lower risks for heart diseases and diseases of the gut. David Spiegelhalter, a professor at the University of Cambridge, stated to The Mercury News that if the study is valid, then “an extra cup of coffee every day could extend the life of a man by around three months and a woman by around a month on average.”

(Samantha Wong/The Stanford Daily)

Personally, I like to drink the occasional black coffee for a wake-me-up in the mornings or for an all-nighter companion. Some days, I enjoy a celebratory mocha frappuccino after doing well on a test. I, however, certainly do not drink coffee on a daily basis.

Coffee drinking habits can be associated with a more relaxed mindset, enough time in one’s day to sit down and destress and a financially stable lifestyle to afford coffee on a daily basis — all factors that can help one live longer. Were results due to the coffee itself or due to these other factors associated with drinking coffee?

Jen Dionne, associate professor of material science and engineering, is willing to believe in the study, especially because she is a coffee drinker herself.

“Coffee, for me, is very, very helpful in the morning,” Dionne said. “If I don’t have it, I will survive, but I’ll be a little less cheerful than normal.”

Dionne also noted that while coffee may correlate to life longevity, it may be a subfactor.

“It could be that coffee drinkers tend to have other habits that enhance their lifestyles,” she said. “Maybe they’re more relaxed, more physically fit, more financially stable or maybe less stressed.”

Dionne associates drinking coffee with a stress-relieving — and often social — break.

“It could just be that having three relaxing timeouts during the day where you might sip on some coffee increases your life expectancy,” she said.

First-year graduate student Natani Notah agreed with Dionne.

“I need [coffee] in the morning to feel sane,” said Notah. “I’ve heard so many reports and research around coffee, and I feel like every year it switches from it’s bad for you to it’s good for you to it’s bad for you to it’s good for you.” She added, “I like that [this study] says it’s good for you because I do drink a lot of coffee: If I’m adding a month to my life, then that is a good thing.”

Some students were more skeptical.

Rising junior Erika DePalatis believes that the study is not valid. “There would be so many external factors that it seems more like a random coincidence than a statistically significant effect,” she said.

In the meantime, I will be drinking coffee only when my thin wallet can afford it.


Please contact Kelly Yookyeong Kim at ykkelly ‘at’ gmail.com.