There have been hundreds of studies parsing out the healthfulness of coffee—we’ve reported on many of them—with just about every internal organ and function of the body receiving a stated boost. But this latest finding is perhaps the most of-the-moment benefit to date. A new study finds that drinking coffee could lower one’s risk of contracting the coronavirus.
As reported by Earth, researchers from Northwestern University examined the protective properties of a variety of foods against contracting COVID-19, including things like fruits, vegetables, meat, oily fish, and of course coffee. For the study, published recently in the journal Nutrients, researchers compared dietary habits of 40,000 British adults via the UK Biobank against COVID-19 exposure estimates based on “the UK’s average monthly positive case rate per specific geo-populations.” After adjusting for “baseline sociodemographic factors, medical history, and other lifestyle factors,” researchers found that those who drank two to three cups of coffee daily were associated a 10% decreased risk of becoming ill due to the coronavirus, “even among some individuals who were known to have been exposed.”
The study offers coffee’s anti-inflammatory properties as an explanation:
Coffee consumption favorably correlates with inflammatory biomarkers such as CRP, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), which are also associated with COVID-19 severity and mortality. Coffee consumption has also been associated with lower risk of pneumonia in elderly. Taken together, an immunoprotective effect of coffee against COVID-19 is plausible and merits further investigation.
While these findings are promising, no causal link between coffee consumption and decreased COVID rates have been established, and researchers are quick to note that the result “warrant independent confirmation.” But still, they say that “adherence to certain dietary behaviors may be an additional tool to existing COVID-19 protection guidelines to limit the spread of this virus.” All by something you are probably doing anyway.