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Coffee drinking could lead to longer life, studies say

  • Drinking coffee could reduce chances of dying from a host of diseases, including heart disease and stroke, according to two studies.
  • The studies focus on a range of ethnic groups across the U.S. and Europe.
  • Benefits appear to improve with each cup.

Coffee drinkers are waking up to some good news Tuesday after new research suggests that a cup of joe a day could keep the doctor away.

Two new studies claim to have found a direct correlation between coffee drinking and a reduced risk of suffering from a host of killers, including heart disease, stroke and liver disease.

The benefits are said to hold true whether you get your kick from an espresso, Americano, latte, or even decaffeinated coffee, according to the research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a U.S. medical journal published by the American College of Physicians.

Indeed, it claims that the benefits are increased with each cup drunk.

The first study, the largest of its kind, looked at the correlation between coffee drinking and mortality among 450,000 participants in 10 European countries. Over the course of the 16-year study, researchers found that men who drank three or more cups of coffee per day lowered their risk of death by 18 percent, compared to those who didn't. For women, the risk was lowered by 8 percent.

It also found that in a subset of 14,800 participants, coffee drinkers had better biological markers, such as liver enzymes and glucose control, which can indicate underlying diseases.

Jacqueline Harriet | Getty Images

The second study by the same organization, which centered on more than 185,000 white and non-white participants in the U.S., found that, over the same timeframe, drinking one cup of coffee per day lowered the risk of death by 12 percent, regardless of ethnicity. Two or three cups lowered the risk by 18 percent.

The findings were said to hold true for both smokers and non-smokers.

"We found that coffee drinkers had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, from cancer, from stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes and kidney disease," said Veronica Setiawan, associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California and a co-author of the research.

However, the researchers have warned that the studies, which required participants to self-report, could neglect other health behaviors shared by coffee fans, such as exercise and balanced eating.

"It is plausible that there is something else behind this that is causing this relationship," said Marc Gunter, a co-author of one of the studies, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

"I wouldn't recommend people start rushing out drinking lots of coffee," he continued, "but I think what it does suggest is drinking coffee certainly does you no harm."

Health experts say that while drinking coffee in moderation is unlikely to harm your health, people should consider how they take their coffee and the health implications this may have.

"Extras, like sugar, syrups, whole milk, and cream will add calories and saturated fat that could cause weight gain and increase cholesterol levels," Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation told CNBC via email.

Taylor added that the side effects of coffee are likely to vary from person to person.

"Some people are more sensitive than others to the effects of caffeine; if this is you, it may be sensible to cut down."

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