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Does a Daily Cup of Coffee Reduce Your Risk for COVID?

Research utilizing the UK Biobank data demonstrates that drinking a cup of coffee a day can reduce your risk for COVID.
Does a Daily Cup of Coffee Reduce Your Risk for COVID?
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Last summer, you were probably wondering how to reduce your risk for COVID. What we could offer back then were the most obvious tactics: stay at home as much as possible, don’t be indoors with lots of people and wear your face mask when you go out. Even though vaccinations have altered the calculus dramatically, we now have a bit more information on other protective measures.

Enjoy a Daily Cup of Coffee:

Here’s one tip that is not at all intuitive. Coffee drinkers are less likely to catch COVID. Researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago discovered this by analyzing data from the UK Biobank (Nutrients, June 20, 2021). They were able to link previously collected data from the Biobank with information from Britain’s public health agency COVID tracking system.

Of the nearly 38,000 people who were tested for COVID-19 between March and November 2020, 17 percent tested positive for the virus. People who reported drinking at least one cup of coffee daily were 10 percent less likely to catch COVID. Drinking more coffee didn’t reduce the risk any further, however.

It isn’t just the caffeine. The investigators point out that many compounds in coffee, including phenolic acids, have anti-inflammatory activity. This helps explain why coffee consumption may help reduce your risk for COVID.

Don’t Rely on Coffee Alone to Reduce Your Risk for COVID:

No one should assume that coffee alone can protect them from infection, though. A 10 percent risk reduction is welcome, but it isn’t huge. For the most effective way to reduce your risk for COVID, nothing beats full vaccination. With the delta variant now causing increasing trouble, including rising case counts, that is more important than ever. In addition, however, the extra advantage from a daily cup of coffee could be useful as well as tasty.

Are you concerned that coffee might undermine your health in other ways? Don’t worry. Most research shows that coffee drinkers have better health.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
  • Vu T-HT et al, "Dietary behaviors and incident COVID-19 in the UK Biobank." Nutrients, June 20, 2021. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13062114
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