The largest ever study into the health and longevity benefits of coffee carried out across 10 European countries suggests that coffee drinkers could live longer. It found men who drank at least three cups of coffee a day were 18 per cent less likely to die from any cause than non-coffee drinkers and that the reduction for women was eight per cent. The research was carried out by Imperial College London and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Coffee is very rich in polyphenols, antioxidant-rich plant compounds that, according to the BBC's Trust Me I'm a Doctor, "decrease blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke, and increase blood supply to the brain, possibly giving some protection against dementia".
A note of caution though, the cause and effect relationship between coffee and health wasn't established in the study - merely that moderate coffee drinkers lived longer. Heavy coffee drinkers had a higher rate of all-cause mortality because they tended to smoke and drink more, noted Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, speaking on the BBC's Today programme. He said that the effect was nevertheless impressive. He calculated that it could mean that drinking an extra cup a day over a lifetime "would put about three months on a man's life and one month on a woman's' equating to about nine minutes a day for a man and three for a woman."
While he didn't think we should all be drinking more of the Java for our health (stopping smoking, drinking and exercising more would have far greater benefits, he said) he did point out that the study suggested that coffee could certainly be part of a healthy lifestyle.
With that in mind, we're slightly obsessed by this fresh take on the daily latte from Plenish . It comes with all the health benefits of walnuts - vitamin E, and omega 3, which is linked to improved brain functioning.
1½ cups walnuts, soaked in water for 4 hours and drained
1 shot of coffee, cooled
2 ½ cups water
Blend all the ingredients until smooth (around 2 minutes).
Leave to settle for a couple of minutes, then strain through a muslin cloth or fine strainer. Wetting the muslin cloth will help it stick to the sides of the jar or cup and avoid spillage. Depending on the speed of your blender you might need to do this process twice to end up with a smooth milk.
Chill before drinking and add more water if you like a thinner consistency.
NB: In our GTG test, we found making the milk first (blending walnuts, dates and water before straining) worked well, so that we could dilute the milk to the consistency we liked before stirring in the coffee. Our version made 1 litre of milk, which we used over a couple of days with a new shot of coffee.