Coffee May Be Preventative Medicine in a Mug

Can regular trips to Tim Hortons or Starbucks for big mugs of joe keep you healthy?

Harvard researchers think so.

People who drink three to five cups of coffee a day — caffeinated or decaffeinated may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who drink less coffee or don’t drink any coffee at all, according to a new study published online in the journal Circulation.

Results from the large-scale Harvard study suggest coffee may actually help prevent heart attacks — and a lot of other health problems as well.

Coffee drinkers who consume those three to five cups daily have a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and suicide. Also, coffee consumption was not associated with cancer deaths.

Why the health benefits?

“Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” said study author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “That could explain some of our findings.”

Antioxidants in coffee may also help protect cells and prevent chronic diseases.

But remember that scientists are very exact about the size of a cup.

That would be 8 oz. or 240 ml.

A small coffee at Tim’s is 286 ml., or 1.2 cups while the largest size is 678 ml. or 2.8 cups.

As for the tall Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream, it’s 16 oz. or two cups and 380 calories.

It’s probably not what the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health had in mind.