As it turns out, your morning coffee isn't just giving you life before work every morning—it's literally sustaining it for years to come. That's according to a massive 16-year study spanning 521,330 participants from 10 European countries, which found that drinking coffee can actually reduce your risk of death from all causes, particularly digestive illnesses and circulatory issues.
The researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and Imperial College London asked the half a million participants (all aged 35 and older) to fill out questionnaires and complete interviews about their diets and caffeine habits. The researchers took lifestyle factors like smoking and exercise into consideration.
After 16 years had passed, the researchers reconnected with the participants and found that those who consumed three or more cups of coffee a day had a reduced risk of illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and liver disease compared to those who didn't drink any. The risk was 18% lower for men and 8% lower for women. "These results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs," clarified lead study author Marc Gunter from the IARC in a statement.
Interestingly enough, the typical coffee drinker was younger, a smoker, an alcohol drinker, and ate more meat than fruits and vegetables. But nonetheless, they found that "drinking more coffee was associated with a more favorable liver function profile and immune response," he explains.
But before you move up to four or five cups a day, keep in mind that, "due to the limitations of observational research," Gunter is in no way advising drinking more or less coffee. "That said, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking—up to around three cups per day—is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits."
Next up: the absolute healthiest way to take your coffee.