That extra cup of coffee can help you live longer, research shows

Also the study conducted by the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton discovered that three to four cups of Joe a day were the ideal number that are associated with almost 17 per cent lower chance of premature mortality as compared to the people who consume none.

The European Food Safety Agency advises that people drink no more than four cups a day.

Although the review found that there was more benefit than harm from drinking coffee, the studies were not adjusted for important confounders, such as body mass index, smoking, age, alcohol use, income and education level.

The full statement from BMJ follows below.

More than three cups of coffee were linked to no harm but produced less enhanced benefits. The study also found a 17 percent lower risk of death among subjects from all causes during the time they were studied, anywhere from 1 to 44 years in some studies.

"Pregnant women and women at high risk of fractures should be made aware of these potential adverse effects", said Guallar. The breadth of the review was pretty substantial; the meta-analyses based on observational research included 67 unique health outcomes, while the meta-analyses based on clinical trials had nine.

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The study collated evidence from over 200 previous studies finding that three or four cups a day offers the greatest health benefits. Generally speaking, though, a cup isn't understood to be a full mug, which usually holds around 12 ounces of liquid (although they can be as large as 16 or even 20 ounces); a cup is only eight ounces, so two mugs of coffee (24 ounces) are roughly equivalent to around three cups of the stuff.

Coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, gallstones and gout, the researchers said.

Finally, there seemed to be beneficial associations between coffee consumption and Parkinson's disease, depression and Alzheimer's disease.

This is not the first discovery of coffee's positive benefits.

"Consequently, there is likely to be a bias towards better health in those who chose to drink coffee compared to those that avoid it, who may do so because they have health problems - this is a limitation of the studies this review looked at as these factors weren't always taken into account".

  • Myrtle Hill