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Believe it or not, coffee and alcohol can actually be good for you.

One of the most well-known pieces of research on the subject, The 90+ Study, suggests that people who “drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained.”

Now don't go pouring your third cup of the day or cracking that beer just yet, there are a few things you need to know first.

Let's start with my favorite.


Coffee

A recent survey from the National Coffee Administration (that's a thing) found that 64% of Americans drink a cup of coffee every day, up from 62% in 2017, and the highest percentage since 2012.
Americans, by far, are the world leaders in coffee consumption. We could dive into why that is, but let's save that for another time.

Two 2017 studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the more coffee a person drank, the lower their risk of early death. The results were largely consistent among more than 700,000 study participants from a variety of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.


But the fun doesn't stop there. Coffee has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, or kidney disease.

At work, caffeine can temporarily improve mood, reaction time, memory, and vigilance. It's a natural stimulant that helps activate the central nervous system and improve brain function. I.e., it can help make you more productive.

As an athlete, caffeine is shown to significantly improve the ability to burn fat during exercise. Caffeine has also been proven to improve physical performance by 11–12%, on average. It's why I always drink a few ounces of coffee before a long run or before my morning workout.

The list of coffee health benefits goes on and on and on.

For now, make sure to tip your barista.


Alcohol

Now onto the more controversial topic: alcohol. Let's turn to science to settle the debate.

- The Bad

On one side of the table, you have studies that show avoiding alcohol completely can lead to a healthier you. Seventh-day Adventists famously have a long life expectancy — 89 years for women and 86 for men, on average — and they avoid alcohol. 

2016 analysis of 87 studies found moderate drinkers didn't have a reduced risk of death compared to people who abstained all their lives or drank just occasionally.

And finally, a large study following 88,084 women and 47,881 men for 30 years found that even 1 drink a day increased the risk of alcohol-related cancers in women, mainly breast cancer.

- The Good

On the other side, you have research that shows that moderate to occasional alcohol consumption does have its health benefits.

Remember The 90+ Study? According to the study, those who drank one or two glasses of wine or beer per day decreased chances of premature death by 18%.

A study from Harvard University that tracked more than 38,000 men over 12 years found that those who moderately drank (binge drinking is not healthy no matter how spin it) any type of alcohol—wine, beer, or spirits—were 30% to 35% less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers.

While moderate alcohol intake mainly benefits your heart, there are other positives as well. Studies have shown that it can help to reduce gallstones and type 2 diabetes, improve digestion, as well as provide several social and psychological benefits.

The occasional drink with friends can improve your mood and overall happiness. Long-term, this can contribute to a good life and your well-being.


So Now What?

I'm not going to bore you by ending this issue with the generic, remember moderation is everything when it comes to coffee and alcohol, because you already know that.

I'm also not going to point out the fact that everyone reacts differently to coffee and alcohol. And they alone will not help to prolong your life or reduce the risk of certain diseases. An overall healthy lifestyle (eating right, exercising, reducing stress) and genetics play a major role in life expectancy.

Instead, I'll end by saying cheers. Here's to enjoying coffee and alcohol responsibly. ☕️🍷🍻

Until next Friday, Thinkers.

- Brian

P.S. Curious about what I do when I'm not writing this newsletter? Here's a look into my day job at Buffer.
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