Three cups of coffee a day offers 'greatest benefit' to health

Coffee May Carry Health Benefits Scientists Say

Drinking up to seven cups of coffee a day has been linked to cutting the chance of early death according to new research.

More specifically, the researchers found that coffee intake was linked with a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and diabetes.

Coffee drinkers also appeared to have lower risks for heart disease.

The study was conducted by the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh reviewed more than 200 previous investigations and found the substance is "more likely to benefit health than harm it".

The BMJ said that to three to four cups of coffee a day is categorised as a moderate intake - 400mg or less per day.

The NHS recommends pregnant women have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day - two mugs of instant coffee - because too much can increase the risk of miscarriage.

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The conclusion was made after doing an "umbrella review" of 201 observational research studies, and 17 studies based on clinical trials across various countries. And this study is significant because while lower risks of liver disease, cancer, and stroke had been posited in the past, researchers had not been able to pinpoint coffee as the cause. One eight-ounce cup of coffee typically has between 95 and 165mg of caffeine in it, according to the Mayo Clinic, but tea, energy drinks, soda, and foods like chocolate also contain caffeine - so make sure you're being mindful of your total intake. In other words, it might be that healthier people also drink coffee, but the review's findings suggest that there are more positive effects than negative ones.

The greatest risk reduction was noticed for liver cirrhosis: "any versus no coffee consumption" was linked to a 39 percent lower risk of developing this condition.

"Factors such as age, whether people smoked or not and how much exercise they took could all have had an effect", Professor Paul Roderick, co-author of the study, told BBC. "Does coffee prevent chronic disease and reduce mortality?"

There was less evidence for the effects of drinking decaffeinated coffee but it had similar benefits for a number of outcomes.

But even if there's still a lot we don't know about the link between coffee and our health, this new study offers a wide array of other avenues to explore.

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