Coffee drinking is largely unrelated to mental well-being, according to new research

Many coffee lovers would say that maintaining good caffeine is a key part of their happiness, but does drinking coffee actually make you feel good? Study published in PLOS One suggests that drinking intense coffee may actually be weakly associated with decreased long-term happiness.

Well-being can be linked to many different factors, such as physical health, mental health, social relationships, and lifestyle choices. Healthy choices have been shown to lead to better well-being and happiness.

In previous studies, coffee consumption was associated with lower rates of suicide and depression, but the studies did not focus on the cumulative effect of coffee on well-being. This study aims to fill this gap knowing that a lack of anxiety does not necessarily mean an increase in positive outcomes.

In their study, Farah Qureshi and colleagues used data from the US Longitudinal Nurses Study. Data was collected for participants who completed happiness or optimism measurements who also reported coffee consumption. For the assessment of happiness, the sample consisted of 44,449 participants, and for the assessment of optimism, data from 36,729 participants were collected. Participants completed measurements for coffee consumption, mental well-being, happiness, health behavior, demographics, and overtime optimism.

The results showed a weak association between minimal coffee consumption and long-term well-being. Moderate coffee consumption was not significantly associated with happiness, while drinking more than 4 cups of coffee a day was associated with lower levels of sustained happiness. Moderate coffee drinking was weakly associated with greater persistent optimism, but light and heavy coffee drinking was not.

“While the observed links between coffee consumption and mental well-being were not discernible, there were some slight differences,” the researchers said. “Given the large sample size used in this analysis, this study had great potential to detect even small differences between women with different levels of coffee consumption, perhaps leading to the identification of associations of limited clinical relevance.”

Two-way analyzes showed that the effect of well-being on coffee drinking was also weak and inconsistent. These results are quite different from previous studies that showed the mental health benefits of consuming coffee.

‘Prospective studies have shown an association between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of depression and suicide, as well as between mental well-being and the adoption of healthy behaviors over time,’ the researchers noted. “However, the current study found no significant association between coffee consumption and mental well-being over 20 years of follow-up in a large cohort of middle-aged and older women.”

The study ‘Prospective links between coffee consumption and mental well-being’ was conducted by Farah Qureshi, Meir Stampfer, Laura D. Kubzansky and Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald.

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