Coffee is the elixir of life.
It gets us up in the mornings, and then helps us to brave that 3pm slump at work.
When it comes to our actual health, however, we haven’t expected it to do us many favours – until now.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has revealed that besides making us feel a little wired, drinking three cups of coffee a day could help us live longer too.
Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London looked at data from more than 500,000 people in 10 European countries in order to look at the effect of coffee consumption upon the risk of death.
They found that higher levels of coffee consumption were, in fact, linked to a reduced risk of death.
And that’s death from all causes – especially from digestive tract and circulatory diseases.
Using an earlier European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, the researchers looked at the data from 521,330 people 35 and over from where coffee is prepared in a variety of ways (think everything from espressos to cappuccinos).
Through a series of interviews and questionnaires, they then assessed their diets.
They found that those in Denmark reported the highest level of coffee consumption at 900ml per day and the lowest in Italy at 92ml.
And they found that people who drank more coffee also happened to be younger, to be drinkers, smokers and eat less fruit and vegetables and more meat.
They then followed the participants for just more than 16 years, during which time 41,693 people died from a variety of conditions including heart failure, stroke, circulatory diseases and cancer.
After adjusting for lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet, the scientists found that those who drank the most coffee had a lower risk of death in comparison to those who spent their lives coffee free.
This is where the good news comes in for male coffee lovers; while men who drank three cups a day were 18% less likely to die, women were only 8% less likely.
Dr Marc Gunter of the IARC and lead author of the study told Sky News: “We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases.
“Importantly, these results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs.
“Our study also offers important insights into the possible mechanisms for the beneficial health effects of coffee.”
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