Too much caffeine used to be considered a bad thing. Now researchers say drinking coffee could extend your life.
They found following a study of 400,000 aged between 50 and 71, the more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to die from a number of different ailments.
These include heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries, accidents, diabetes and infections, but not cancer.
Experts say moderate coffee consumption of 4-5 cups of coffee per day is safe and may be associated with certain health benefits
The US research published in The New England Journal of Medicine adds to evidence that coffee drinkers appear to enjoy better health.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Maryland, say they cannot establish whether coffee is the cause of a lowered risk of death, but they found a link.
The research followed a large number of people, 229,000 men and 173,000 women, taking part in a diet and health study between 1995 and 2008.
Researchers say drinking coffee could extend your life as you are less likely you are to die from a number of different ailments
Participants were classified according to the amount of coffee they drank at the start of the study, into groups drinking up to six cups a day or more, and non-coffee drinkers.
There were 52,000 deaths during the period, with an ‘inverse association’ between coffee consumption and death.
This means those drinking greater amounts of coffee had an ever reducing risk of dying.
About one third of coffee drinkers were consuming decaffeinated coffee and the findings held for this group.
Experts say for this reason it is unlikely it is the caffeine ingredient giving health benefits, but there are known direct biological effects from antioxidants and magnesium contained in coffee.
Dr Euan Paul, executive director of the British Coffee Association said ‘This important research adds to the overwhelming weight of evidence which demonstrates that moderate coffee consumption of 4-5 cups of coffee per day is safe and may be associated with certain health benefits.
‘Whilst more research is required to determine whether the inverse association seen in this study is causal, these results are particularly encouraging because they build on previous research which has also suggested an inverse association between coffee consumption and total and cause-specific mortality.
‘Pregnant women should continue to moderate their caffeine intake to 200mg per day in line with NHS guidelines.’
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