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Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have discovered that drinking coffee is good for you. The consumption combats systemic inflammations and chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular, which surface as age advances. The result is part of a recent study published in Nature Medicine.

Firstly, researchers discovered an inflammatory mechanism associated with human aging and the chronic diseases that come with it. Extensive analysis of blood samples, survey data and medical and family histories obtained from more than 100 human participants was used.

The inflammation, according to scientists, is caused by metabolites (“leftovers” of the cellular metabolism) of nucleic acids (molecules that serve as building blocks for our genes) circulating in the blood. They also discovered evidence that caffeine and its own metabolites may counter the action of this circulating genetic “waste”. This would explain why coffee drinkers tend to live longer than abstainers.

“More than 90% of all noncommunicable diseases of aging are associated with chronic inflammation,” said the study’s lead author, David Furman, a consulting associate professor at the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection. More than 1,000 papers provided evidence that chronic inflammation contributes to many cancers, diseases and dementias. Older research already pointed to the relationship between caffeine and longevity. “We found a possible reason for why this may be so,” Furman says.

Notably, this inflammatory mechanism was found to be activated only in some, but not all, of the older study participants. Those in whom it was relatively quiescent tended to drink more caffeinated beverages. Laboratory experiments revealed that the mechanism was directly countered by caffeine and associated compounds.

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